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Torrey Smith was praised by coaches for being a fast learner in his rookie year.
But he’s slowing it down this offseason.
Smith and the rest of the Ravens’ rookies didn’t have organized team activities last year due to the lockout. Now, Smith is taking advantage of the extra time by going back to the basics and re-training himself in the fundamentals of being a wide receiver.
It could be the key to having a bigger sophomore season.
“We arrived late [last year] and we kind of played to cover it up,” Smith said. “A lot of us were thrown into it and it kind of forced us to learn faster. Now we’re taking things slow and we’re able to understand it.”
Smith was considered somewhat of a raw product coming out of Maryland, while possessing blazing speed and playmaking potential.
But after the Ravens released veteran Derrick Mason just before the start of training camp, Smith entered his first practice opposite starter Anquan Boldin.
He relied on those tools to have a breakout rookie season. By Week 3, Smith was a starter, and he turned in a 50-catch, 841-yard season with a Ravens rookie record seven touchdowns.
“I wouldn’t change it looking back at it now,” Smith said. “It force fed us, it forced us to grow up fast. We had to learn [from] mistakes on the fly.”
Even while recovering from offseason sports hernia surgery – which should help him play even faster this season – Smith was a constant figure at the Ravens’ voluntary strength and conditioning program. He was spending time in the classroom and working one-on-one with Wide Receivers Coach Jim Hostler.
Smith’s honing his technique, from his route-running, getting in and out of breaks, technique catching the ball and even blocking.
Asked for one specific part of his game that Smith has noticed a change, he said it’s recognizing body balance while running routes. He can now tell by his balance whether, for example, his route was too short.
“I’m starting to feel it and get it a lot more. It feels natural,” Smith said. “I have the natural ability. For me, it’s just putting all the technique together so I can be dominant.”