Each season that Torrey Smith has been in the league, his yardage total has increased.
As a rookie in 2011, Smith hauled in 50 passes for 841 yards and seven touchdowns. In Baltimore's Super Bowl-winning season in 2012, he caught 49 passes for 855 yards and eight touchdowns. A year ago in 2013, Smith was Baltimore's top target, hauling in 65 passes for 1,128 yards and four touchdowns.
Needless to say, expectations were high heading into 2014.
Smith has had opportunities thus far but hasn't come through yet. He's come through in the clutch before, most notably in Pittsburgh in 2011. But last Sunday, he dropped a pass on fourth down that he's certainly capable of making. He even admitted as such.
Quarterback Joe Flacco has targeted Smith 30 times this season. Smith has only been able to come down with 11 receptions for 176 yards and a touchdown. To put it into better perspective, Smith is on pace for a season with 563 yards and three touchdowns. Those are hardly No. 1 wide receiver numbers for a player in a contract season.
"I definitely have not lost confidence at all. You can't," Smith told reporters at the team's facility this week. "I learned that the hard way [during] my rookie camp. It's not that I'm a bad player. Things haven't been going my way. No one controls that but me, so I'll just keep on working and things will show."
After he was taken by the Ravens in the second round of the 2011 draft, he asserted himself as the team's deep threat by Week 3 as a rookie — when his first three NFL receptions went for touchdowns. By last year, he became a more well-rounded receiver, working the middle at times and rounding out his route tree.
But he's been in a funk thus far this season. It's hard to assume that Smith has been unable to adjust to Gary Kubiak's scheme. At the end of the day it's football. Smith is a professional and is smart and talented enough to succeed in this offense.
It's too early to write off Smith for this season, though the struggles are evident and ever-present. The Ravens need both Smiths to be factors in the passing game to help create that balance — which has much been discussed this week around the web and on the radio. While Torrey Smith has gotten out to a slow start, Steve Smith was showing that he can still be a dynamic playmaker at age 35. But with Steve Smith struggling against the Colts, the Ravens could have used Torrey Smith to step up. Instead, he could only come down with three of his eight targets for 38 yards.
The Ravens will need this trend to change for the better in the coming weeks.
"I've been conscious of that to make sure I haven't been pressing," Torrey Smith said. "It's very easy to fall into that. For me, it's more so like, ‘Hey, when an opportunity comes, you have to make it.' I know that's something I say to [the media] every single time I talk to you all, but it's the truth. Take it one play at a time and go from there."