Professional sports is certainly a "what have you done for me lately?" industry and given the growing obsession of fantasy sports, fans often forget about the reality of the game.
In both fantasy and reality, Ravens
ageless wonder wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. had a monster game in Baltimore's 38-10 win over Carolina with seven receptions, 139 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Most of that came in the first half. However, cast in the shadows of the blowout win was the first touchdown of the season for the other member of Smith & Smith Associates, Torrey Smith.
Hang around enough football players to understand that the competitive nature is just in their DNA. Given that this is a contract year for Torrey, he certainly would like to see more production in his stat-line, but being the class individual he is, he'll never complain about personal issues, especially if the team is winning. Judging by the Ravens 3-1 record with all of the distractions that have surrounded the team, Torrey is likely doing just fine and isn't concerned.
"Just fine and not concerned" is also how I feel about Torrey and I'd like to convince you of that as well.
Despite the offense hanging 38 points on the scoreboard, Torrey finished with only two receptions. However, I'm not concerned at all because judging by the Swiss cheese run defense the Panthers put on the field, the Ravens had a near perfect balance of runs (30 attempts) versus passes (31 attempts). Also, you need to add in the fact that Torrey only played 48 of the 63 offensive snaps (76%).
Steve Smith had a message to send on Sunday and even though his playtime mirrored Torrey's (47 snaps, 75%), he dwarfed the rest of the receiving corps in targets with ten, as compared to Torrey's three. Steve did a fine job getting open and Joe Flacco/Gary Kubiak went with the hot hand.
Prior to the start of the season, I thought Kubiak's West Coast offense would be a better fit for Torrey, judging by what I saw in practice and during the preseason. Instead of just being a 9-route runner, Torrey should be targeted on shorter routes and utilize his quick feet to make plays. With both of his receptions on three targets being over 20 yards yesterday, that wasn't necessarily the case.
I think a lot of people want to think of Torrey as a possession receiver, but he has never been that and it doesn't look like the routes he's running or the play calling are translating into that. Throughout his career, Torrey has only averaged 3.22 receptions-per-game (58 games/187 receptions) and has a career-high of seven receptions, so not being a possession receiver like Derrick Mason was shouldn't really matter.
If Torrey wants to have more opportunities to score, he needs to be put into situations to get more touches. I don't believe his route running is as poor as many have stated and I think he's just underutilized in the offense. If Kubiak will give Jacoby Jones five-yard slant passes to drop, he should do more of the same for Torrey.
Judging by what is considered status quo for Torrey, he's going to score more often than not and catch a handful of balls per game. Would I like to see more? Absolutely. Am I going to panic? No way. Especially with tight end Dennis Pitta lost for the season and the
panther cat being let out of the bag that Steve Smith still has tread left on the tires, Torrey will get more opportunities and it'll pay off for you and whatever reason you cheer for him — fantasy or reality.