T. Smith Ready To Open Deep Game

The offense is designed to push the ball up field. Torrey Smith was drafted to do that.

Posted by Ryan Mink on Tuesday, September 20th, 2011 at 12:44 pm | Categories: Ryan Mink, Week 3 at Rams

Torrey Smith hasn’t had the explosive start to his NFL career that fans or he was hoping for.

After recording just four receptions in the preseason, the Ravens’ rookie wide receiver has yet to make a catch in his first two regular-season games.

He’s been targeted by one pass, when quarterback Joe Flacco slung one basically out of bounds as he was being pressured by the Steelers in Week 1.

But it’s not a product of the second-round pick not being ready, and it could soon change.

“If we didn’t think he was ready to catch the ball and run with it, we certainly wouldn’t put him on the field,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said.

“I want to see him make catches as much as anybody, especially downfield, because that’s what we brought him here to do. We just haven’t gotten to him yet with it.”

Harbaugh and Smith said the reason he hasn’t had a catch yet is simply because quarterback Joe Flacco hasn’t gotten to him in his progressions.

Flacco has a number of targets to throw to with Anquan Boldin, Lee Evans, Ray Rice, and his pair of young tight ends in Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta.

But the Ravens could target Smith more now with Evans nursing an ankle injury and David Reed sidelined for the next three weeks.

Immediately after Sunday’s 26-13 loss to Tennessee, Harbaugh said the Ravens didn’t make enough big plays down the field, which would have also helped open up the run game.

Baltimore completed two passes of more than 20 yards. One was a screen to running back Ray Rice that he took 31 yards for a touchdown. The other was a well-executed 32-yard strike to Evans in the fourth quarter as the Ravens tried to mount a late comeback.

The Ravens had just five completions to wide receivers Boldin and Evans against the Titans, and no other wideout has caught a pass yet this season.

“We need to push the ball up the field,” Harbaugh said. “This offense is designed to do it.

“We have done it in the past. We threw more ‘nine’ routes last year than anybody in the National Football League, but it’s not just throwing them – its completing them, it’s making those plays downfield. That’s part of the reason [Smith] is here.”

Due to the injuries, Smith saw a number of snaps in Tennessee, and he projects to be headed for more. Tandon Doss, who has been inactive for the first two games, and LaQuan Williams are also the next guys up, according to Harbaugh.

“They’re just going to have to step up and make plays for us,” Harbaugh said.

While Smith is eager to make his mark, the rookie said he is also being careful not to be anxious.

He learned that lesson in the preseason after dropping two passes at home against Washington. Following that game, Flacco said Smith had a “tendency to overthink things” and the wideout openly admitted that he was pressing in front of his hometown fans.

“It’s not that I’m not prepared. I’m practicing well and executing well and I’ve been getting open,” Smith said.

“For me, it’s really just playing football and relaxing. I’m at that point, and I’ve got to take advantage when the opportunity comes.”

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