Steve Smith turns 35 years old May 12, which raises this question. How much can the Ravens expect from Smith next season? Here are five reasons why Smith should make their offense better.
1. Smith has been durable.
He has played at least 14 games in all but one of his 13 seasons. Injury is always a possibility, but Smith keeps himself in great shape and knows how to prepare his body for the rigors of 16 games.
2. Smith has been consistent
Over the past three seasons, Smith has averaged 72 catches and 1,104 yards. Yes, Smith’s numbers went down last season (64 catches, 745 yards). But he still had more yards and catches than anyone on the Ravens except Torrey Smith.
3. Smith can block
Some receivers shy away from this responsibility. Smith doesn’t. Here is a video of Smith wiping out Vikings’ linebacker Chad Greenway last season.
Blocks like that should help the Ravens’ running game.
4. Smith smells first downs
Forty-four of Smith’s 64 catches went for first downs last season. The Ravens had too many three-and-outs in 2013, something Smith can change.
5. Smith travels well
In each of the last four seasons, Smith has caught more passes on the road than at home. Losing too many close road games cost the Ravens a playoff spot last year. Smith plays with a swagger that should help the Ravens’ offense in hostile environments.
Is Smith in his prime, like from 2005-08, when he had four straight 1,000-yard seasons? No. Should he be an important playmaker in the Ravens’ offense? Yes.