Off to painfully slow start, Torrey Smith determined to turn things around

Former Maryland wide receiver on pace to catch 32 passes for 452 yards, averaging two catches. 28.3 yards per game through three games

  • Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith can't reach a pass as Cleveland Browns cornerback Buster Skrine defends during the fourth quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium.
Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith can't reach a pass as… (Ken Blaze/USA TODAY Sports )
September 26, 2014|By Aaron Wilson | The Baltimore Sun

The arrival of veteran wide receiver Steve Smith didn't suddenly transform wide receiver Torrey Smith into the forgotten man in the Ravens' offense.

That's been the net effect, though, for the former Maryland standout as Torrey Smith and quarterback Joe Flacco have struggled to connect on deep passes. Meanwhile, Steve Smith has thrived in offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak's system.

Torrey Smith has been targeted 19 times and has caught just six passes for 85 yards while Steve Smith has been thrown to 31 times and has 18 catches, 290 yards and a touchdown.

If this painfully slow start continues for Torrey Smith, he's on pace to finish the season with 32 catches for 452 yards. Steve Smith is on pace to catch 96 passes for 1,546 yards.

Despite what's happened so far heading into Sunday's game against the Carolina Panthers, Torrey Smith says he's certain things will turn around for him in the near future.

"You can't get any closer than we've already been," Torrey Smith said. "I have folks Tweeting me how terrible I am, and I could very easily have had three touchdowns and 300 yards the past couple weeks. That's how the ball rolls. I'm not used to it, but we'll get over it soon. We were as close as you can get to touchdowns. We just have to be on the same page and get it done.

"So, it'll happen. It has no choice but to happen. The way we've been practicing, it has no choice but to happen. I can't say when. I hope it's Sunday, but it'll happen soon."

Torrey Smith caught two passes for 25 yards against the Cleveland Browns last Sunday despite being targeted a team-high eight times. Flacco once overthrew him on a potential touchdown pass. He also drew a pass-interference penalty to set up a touchdown and has drawn three defensive pass interference penalties this season.

“Torrey had a great week last week,” Kubiak said on Thursday. “I felt bad for him coming out of the game because, really, he had a chance to make some big plays. We missed him in the end zone, but he’s working extremely well.”

The timing of the diminished production for Torrey Smith -- who caught 65 passes for 1,128 yards and four touchdowns last season -- is bad. This is the final year of his $3.404 million rookie contract. The Ravens and Torrey Smith aren't close to a contract extension, according to sources.

Torrey Smith is accustomed to being criticized and doesn't seem overly frustrated.

"It doesn’t bother me because it comes with the territory," Torrey Smith said. "The only thing that I do dislike is when people question how much you care about what you’re doing. We take this just as serious as anything else. It’s an opportunity not a lot of people have.

"One thing that does get under my skin is when people question whether I care about this game, or if I'm trying, or even being here. This is the place I love. Otherwise, I'm good."

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