"This is to notify you that as of today, I, Steve Smith Sr., will no longer be antagonizing defensive backs. I am retiring from the National Football League."
In his illustrious 16-year career, Smith made five Pro Bowls and was named First Team All-Pro twice. He is 12th in career receptions (1,031), 7th in receiving yards (14,731) and 26th in touchdowns (81). He will be missed.
For many NFL players it would be a slap in the face to be overlooked after having the season Kamar Aiken did last year, putting up nearly 1,000 receiving yards and 75 catches.
“I’m not working hard enough,” Aiken said. “I probably have to do a little more.”
Meanwhile, just as he did last year when Smith and Perriman were injured, Aiken has gone about his business of being the Ravens’ most impressive wide receiver on the field.
Aiken became a starter, and the team’s top target, last season. Now he’s looking to keep a stranglehold on it when everyone’s healthy. Fortunately for Aiken, it's a position that's had its share of setbacks. Back in June those who follow the team felt Aiken was the best WR2 option but that remains to be seen with Smith, Perriman and now Wallace all in the fold.
It won’t be easy, but it will be on quarterback Joe Flacco and offensive coordinator Marc Trestman to get everyone involved. However they do it, Aiken deserves a prominent role.
It's difficult to project the Baltimore receiving corps. Steve L Smith seems to be the WR1 if healthy, but he's 37 years old and coming off of a season-ending injury. Breshad Perriman was a 1st round pick and the team signed Mike Wallace in the offseason. Aiken was the most productive receiver in 2015 and is certainly the best bet to replace Smith if he were to miss any time.
Mike Wallace signed with the Ravens on Tuesday for two years at the same $11.5 million in salary and said at a press conference that he’s looking forward to playing with Joe Flacco, whose years with Baltimore have featured plenty of deep balls that turned into catches or pass interference penalties.
“You have a quarterback that can really sling the ball,” Wallace said, via Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun. “That’s what I need.”
There are a lot of question marks in the Ravens receiving corps, but things should look a lot better than they did this year if Wallace revive his deep threat credentials while Steve Smith and Breshad Perriman return from injuries in good form.
Wallace is a good fit for Joe Flacco's big arm. The Ravens didn't have a deep threat last season with Torrey Smith gone and Breshad Perriman on the shelf. Wallace is past his prime but he's bound to have a few big games given his ability to go deep. Consider him a WR5 type if Perriman is healthy.
The Ravens lost another one of their top playmakers.
Already playing without quarterback Joe Flacco, running back Justin Forsett and wide receiver Steve Smith Sr., the Ravens watched starting tight end Crockett Gillmore leave today's game against the Miami Dolphins with a back injury.
Gillmore made a seven-yard catch in the first quarter and was drilled to the ground by Koa Misi and Michael Thomas. It isn't clear whether that was the play on which Gillmore was hurt.
In his second season, Gillmore has been a revelation this year for the Ravens. He entered the game with 32 catches for 405 yards and four touchdowns in nine games.
While the depth chart in the team's weekly release is considered unofficial, this is an indication that Givens should be considered the frontrunner over Marlon Brown and Jeremy Ross in taking over Steve Smith's starting spot.
"Every time he has gotten in the game, he has made plays," Flacco said. "I think guys see that, guys react well to that. I think he’s becoming one of us."
It's evident Flacco already has more chemistry with Givens. In the last game, Flacco's 18-yard pass to Givens on a back-shoulder throw jumpstarted the winning drive.
“He’s starting to feel it a little bit,” coach John Harbaugh said. “He and Joe [Flacco] are starting to develop something, an understanding for one another.”
Givens showed a lot of promise as a rookie for the Rams in 2012, gaining at least 50 yards in seven of eight games during a midseason stretch. St. Louis had major issues at quarterback in 2013 and 2014, and Givens fell behind Kenny Britt, Brian Quick and Tavon Austin on the team's depth chart over the past two seasons. Now the 4.41 speedster is going to see major snaps for Ravens with a quarterback who throws a nice deep ball. In his career, Givens has seen five-plus targets in 16 games and has averaged 3.5 catches for 54 yards and 0.12 TD in those games. He's not likely to set the world on fire, but it's feasible that he posts WR4 numbers the rest of the way.
Monday, November 2, 2015, 8:28am
But pragmatically, it was even tougher, as he was their last effective receiver left.
As pointed out by Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun, the Ravens kept six wide receivers on their season-opening roster. Three of them (Smith, rookie Darren Waller and Michael Campanaro) are done for year and a fourth (first-rounder Breshad Perriman) hasn’t played a down.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh said he thought Permian had a “shot” to play at some point this year, but there’s nothing to suggest he’s close to a return after his latest knee surgery.
Kamar Aiken, Chris Givens and Jeremy Ross made enough plays late to help them beat the Chargers, but they need to find some outside help. While it’s hard to gauge the effectiveness of making a trade before Tuesday’s deadline, they’re going to have to add someone, simply because they’re running out of bodies, the story said.
Coach John Harbaugh doesn't know whether Smith will practice this week, but he indicated that the Ravens' leading receiver has been training hard.
"I'm hopeful," Harbaugh said Monday. "Very hopeful."
Smith hasn't practiced since injuring his back in Pittsburgh on Oct. 1. He was listed as doubtful for this past Sunday's game, meaning he had a 25 percent chance of playing. After not participating in pregame warm-ups, he was declared out, ending his streak of 20 straight games played.
Without Smith on Sunday, Baltimore wide receivers totaled three catches for 6 yards after the first quarter. Smith still leads the Ravens with 29 catches, which are 13 more than any other player on the team.
"We need to take our shots," Flacco said after Wednesday's practice at San Jose State University. "If nothing else, at least it let teams know that we’re going to do that."
And who is Flacco going to target downfield? Steve Smith had six catches on passes over 20 yards last season, which ranked 37th in the NFL. Kamar Aiken, Marlon Brown and Michael Campanaro combined for one such reception in 2014.
"I don’t think we’re going to have that guy right now that’s going to run by guys five times a game," Flacco said.
"But we definitely have guys that can run crossing routes and be hit 30 yards downfield and can run double moves downfield. So, that’s what we’re going to do."
Related Players: Breshad Perriman
We still recommending stashing Breshad Perriman, though it's getting harder and harder to do so. His speed will add a sorely needed dimension to this offense.
Ravens beat writer Jeff Zrebiec:
I’ve been saying for months that Marlon Brown is a lock for one of the wide receiver spots in what has been the most-scrutinized position competition of training camp. But now, I’m not so sure.
Brown, to no fault of his own, missed most of the first couple of weeks of training camp with back and hamstring injuries. But since his return, he hasn’t looked right.
He isn’t getting a ton of reps and he’s been extremely tentative, failing to get much separation on defensive backs. I’m sure the injuries have a lot to do with it, but Brown may be playing himself onto the roster bubble, especially if Michael Campanaro stays healthy and Jeremy Butler and Darren Waller have good preseasons.
Two weeks ago, I would have predicted with some confidence that the Ravens’ regular-season roster would include seven receivers: Steve Smith, Kamar Aiken, Brown, Campanaro, Breshad Perriman, Waller and Jeremy Butler. Now, I’m not so sure.
Campanaro is making a push to be the team's slot receiver, and if Perriman returns and takes over as the WR2, then Brown will be vying with Aiken for snaps as the team's WR4. If Perriman remains sidelined, then Aiken/Brown could be battling for a starting job.
Saturday, August 15, 2015, 11:05am
WR Michael Campanaro's electric 45-yard touchdown in the Baltimore Ravens' preseason opener was the result of great route-running, determination after the catch and hard work to stay healthy this summer.
Campanaro is standing out in the Ravens' wide receiver competition because of his ability to make big plays and stay on the field. It shouldn't go unnoticed that Campanaro is the only returning receiver from last year's team to participate in every training camp practice this year.
Steve Smith received a veteran day off. Kamar Aiken sat out a day because of fatigue. Marlon Brown missed time with back and hamstring injuries. Plus, first-round pick Breshad Perriman injured his knee on the first day of camp and hasn't returned.
Suiting up every day is as much of a statement for Campanaro as his first touchdown in Baltimore.
"It feels great just being healthy, out there playing," Campanaro said. "I’m not even thinking about it. Just out there playing free.”
Durability was one of the reasons why he lasted until the seventh round in 2014. Injuries curtailed his impact as a rookie. There's no one questioning his talent. Campanaro is a savvy pass catcher with great hands. In limited action last year, he was Joe Flacco's surest target, catching a team-best 84.6 percent of the the passes thrown his direction in the regular season and playoffs.
While it seems like yesterday that a young Joe Flacco was drafted in the first round by the Baltimore Ravens, he’s already heading into his eighth season as an NFL quarterback. He’s a seasoned, mature veteran and the leader of one of the winningest pro football franchises over the last decade. Flacco is the Super Bowl XLVII MVP and has the most playoff wins of any NFL quarterback since he entered the league in 2008. Last season, he had his best statistical outing yet, putting up 3,986 passing yards and 27 touchdowns. Nobody wants to see those numbers regress even if Flacco has his fourth coordinator in four years. In fact, the hope is that he gets even better and breaks the 4,000-yard milestone. When asked about what he’ll do to better his game in 2015, Flacco didn’t say a single thing about stats, wins or any accolades, such as getting a Pro Bowl nod for the first time. Instead, he named three specific goals: 1) Stay healthy 2) Maintain strong communication with his OC Marc Trestman 3) Work on his footwork
Perhaps the most important fantasy-related item to take away here is Flacco building his relationship with Trestman. The story said Flacco isn’t worried about the offense under Trestman due to its similarity to the system Gary Kubiak implemented last season. Flacco is ranked 16th among our QBs this year. He lost his deep threat in Torrey Smith but the team drafted Breshad Perriman, who is expected to start alongside Steve L Smith, and fill the deep threat void. We project Flacco for 4,259 yards, which would put him tenth. He'll continue to have QB2 value and probably could start for your fantasy team in certain matchups.
Saturday, June 27, 2015, 10:53am
Coach John Harbaugh is pushing Brown for a breakout season.
"I have high hopes for him," Harbaugh said recently, via the Ravens' official website. "I really want to see him break out. ... It's time for him to step up and become what he's capable of doing. He's very determined to do that."
Harbaugh continues to talk up Brown this offseason. When training camp opens, Brown will be battling Aiken and Perriman for a starting job. The story went on to say Brown didn't make enough plays in 2014. After recording seven touchdowns as an undrafted rookie in 2013, he was kept out of the end zone entirely last season. In fact, the 6-foot-5 redzone threat wasn't targeted once inside the 20-yard line.
Monday, May 11, 2015, 9:32am
WR DeAndre Carter is only 5 feet 8 and 185 pounds, but he was one of the quickest and most active players on the field in the portion of Ravens’ mincamp open to reporters on Saturday.
Carter was a coveted college free agent, but he looks up to Steve Smith, so signing with the Ravens made sense. He also had an extremely prolific college career, albeit against lesser competition. Carter caught 99 passes for 1,321 yards and 17 touchdowns last season and has return skills that could come into play with the Ravens looking to replace Jacoby Jones.
The article goes on to say that the Ravens' receiving lineup will be tough to crack, but the team is generally hurting for playmakers at the position. If Carter displays a skill set that the team needs, then he'll make the cut.
Friday, April 10, 2015, 4:32pm
Stature stands in the way of Cooks being perceived as a No. 1-type wide receiver in the NFL. Not many true No. 1 wideouts are 5-foot-10 and 185 pounds.
Yet Cooks needs to be that primary pass catcher with the Saints losing Kenny Stills in a trade to Miami and Marques Colston's best days behind him. Cooks only turns 22 in September and missed the last six games last season with a hand injury. Cooks possesses the tools to become the guy.
As the author points out, those are lofty expectations for Cooks. But we've all seen Steve Smith become a Pro Bowler as a No. 1 wide receiver for Carolina for several seasons. Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown is the latest example leading the NFL in catches and yards last season, the story adds. Cooks said this offseason how he's striving to emulate Brown. With no more Stills and Jimmy Graham, the Saints hope and need Cooks to quickly develop into their top option. This seems to be good news for his fantasy value heading into 2015.
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