Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith is looking to rebound from his recent on-field struggles. He remains unfazed, saying he is still confident he will produce in new offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak's system.
Torrey Smith is not one to be fazed by his recent on-field struggles.
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Smith is on pace for the worst statistical production of his career. However, he told Garrett Downing of the Ravens' official website on Oct. 8 he remains as confident as ever:
"The start of the season hasn't gone the way Torrey Smith anticipated, but he hasn't given up.
"The Ravens wide receiver is on pace for career lows in catches and receiving yards, and he's coming off a particularly frustrating game when the Ravens' comeback bid ended on a difficult fourth-down pass that he was unable to haul in for a catch.
"Despite the slow start, Smith stressed that he hasn't lost faith in himself.
"'I definitely have not lost confidence at all,' Smith said Wednesday. 'You can't. I learned that the hard way my rookie camp. It's not that I am a bad player. Things just haven't been going my way. And no one controls that but me. I'll keep on working and things will show.'
"Smith took questions in the locker room for several minutes from a group of about a dozen reporters, who asked about Sunday's loss, his early season struggles and a contract year. He joked at times during the group interview, and also emphasized that he is not trying to force anything to break through the slump.
"'I haven't been pressing at all,' he said. 'I've been conscious of that to make sure I haven't been pressing. I think it's very easy to fall into that. For me, it's more. 'When the opportunity comes, you have to make it.'
"Smith also emphasized that he wasn't going to try to dodge the media like players sometimes do.
"I'm man enough to be here when I'm successful and things are going good,' he said. 'And when things are going bad, I'm man enough to stand here and take it,' he said.
"After Sunday's loss, Smith tweeted that he was 'sick,' and that he was facing 'very trying times on and off the field.'
"When asked to elaborate what he meant by the tweet, Smith kept some details private but explained that he wasn't referring to any upcoming contract negotiations. The fourth-year player is in the final year of his rookie contract and is scheduled to become a free agent this offseason unless he and the Ravens agree to an extension before that time.
"'I'm human just like anyone else. We all have our problems that we deal with on and off the field. I'm thankful to have a beautiful wife and child that can help ease those problems when you come home,' Smith said.
"'I've never been one to worry about (the contract). I just try to go out there and do what I do best. If I play well, everything else happens. I can honestly say without lying to you that the contract doesn't even come up. It's basically like a written rule. I don't even talk about it with my teammates or my family members or even Drew. Drew's my agent and we don't even talk about it. It's something that I don't even want it to be in my subconscious mind. I just want to go out there and play ball.'
"Smith has 11 catches for 76 yards and a touchdown this year. At the same point last season, he had 27 catches for 556 yards and a touchdown. Part of the reason his numbers are down this season is that he has drawn five pass interference calls for a total of 98 yards."
Another reason why Smith -- who is more of a deep threat -- hasn't produced as much in 2014 is because new Ravens offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak's system relies more on short passes, per ESPN's Jamison Hensley:
"The Baltimore Ravens' passing game has focused on shorter passes under new offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak, and wide receiver Torrey Smith has watched the number of passes thrown his way get cut nearly in half.
"It's now become a legitimate question: Does a deep threat like Smith fit into a short passing offense?
"'It's the same as any other offense I've ever been in and it's literally the exact same offense I ran in college,' Smith said. 'That's not the case at all.'
"Smith says he hasn't lost his confidence, and he doesn't believe his worst start to any season is the result of this being a contract year. The statistics suggest there is a problem with getting the ball to him.
"The direction of the passing attack has changed. Last season, only 54 percent of Joe Flacco's throws went 10 yards or less. This season, the number has risen to 75 percent.
"With the Ravens going to shorter passes, Smith has become less targeted. Through five games last season, Smith had 49 passes thrown his way, which was tied for eighth-most in the NFL. This year, he has been targeted 26 times, which ranks 67th.
"'I can't speak on targets because different things determine that,' Smith said. 'There is coverage. There's time where this is a best-side read, or a best-matchup read and the coverage may dictate something, so I may be open but it wasn't necessarily designed to go that way or there's a progression. It's not like Kubs (Kubiak) is game-planning me out or it's not like he's just sending me deep the whole time.'"
Smith has caught for 3,000 yards and 20 touchdowns on 175 receptions in 53 career regular-season games with the Ravens through Oct. 9, per ESPN stats.
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