Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. is a grizzled veteran with 14 years of experience under his belt. Therefore it isn’t surprising that head coach John Harbaugh wants to protect Smith by reducing his snaps for the upcoming season.
ESPN’s Jamison Hensley slipped this bit of information into an article about rookie receiver Breshad Perriman, who could be an integral player for the Ravens in 2015.
“Perriman enters a very favorable position to put up some big numbers in his rookie season,” Hensley writes. “He has a shot to become the Ravens No. 1 receiver because coach John Harbaugh talked about how he wanted to reduce Steve Smith’s snaps to save on his wear and tear.”
It sounds like a noble plan, reducing Smith’s snaps.
Unfortunately, the idea seems a bit far-fetched. Smith is undeniably the most skilled receiver on Baltimore’s roster, even at the age of 36.
Thanks to quarterback Joe Flacco’s propensity to drop dimes on 50-plus-yard bombs, Smith’s talents as a deep threat were put to excellent use last year. He experienced a rebirth of sorts in 2014 playing with Flacco, catching 79 passes for 1,065 yards and six touchdowns.
The year before, playing with Cam Newton, Smith only registered 745 yards on 64 carries with four touchdowns.
Given the fact that Baltimore’s depth chart at the receiver position isn’t pretty, Smith will likely be pressed into more action than Harbaugh would prefer. Nobody should expect Marlon Brown, Kamar Aiken and Michael Campanaro to match Smith’s production.
And furthermore, nobody should expect Smith to willingly allow himself to be taken off the field in favor of those untested youngsters.
There isn’t another competitor to match Smith’s fervor on Sundays.
He is the heartbeat that keeps his team’s competitive spirit alive. And you can be sure if Harbaugh does attempt to keep him fresh by taking him off the field, Smith will be in his ear until he is put back in the game.
Either Harbaugh will need earplugs this season or Smith will remain on the field until he has to be carried off it.
Photo: USA Today Sports