Gene Sweeney Jr, Baltimore Sun
January 1, 2012
(Sept 18, after a 26-13 loss to the Titans)
To be clear, I wasn't one of those people rushing to call Torrey Smith a bust. In fact, I did my best to stick up for him in our online game day chats, saying it was ludicrous that people were writing him off based on a couple bad drops. But when he stumbled his way through the Titans game without a catch, and Flacco appeared to have so little confidence in him he wouldn't even look his way, I tossed in that line about how the game looked like it was moving too fast for him. It was probably the tamest thing anyone said about Smith all week, to be honest, but I still think it was pretty poor analysis on my part. Smith was bombarded by criticism from Ravens fans, and he was definitely stung by some of the media coverage. In retrospect, I doubt the game was moving too fast for him. Flacco just didn't trust him yet, and didn't know where he was going to be. In reality, he turned out to be the Ravens best receiver by the end of the year. He not only caught 50 passes for 841 yards and 7 touchdowns -- by far the best stats a rookie wide receiver has ever posted in Baltimore -- he also drew a ton of pass interference penalties and he opened up the middle of the field for Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta. Smith has thus far looked like a steal in the second round, and as it turned out the very next week (when he caught three TDs against the Rams) all he really needed was an opportunity.