The Baltimore Ravens made the first move early this off-season in trying to capitalize off of the 2012 NFL season where they eventually won the Super Bowl and took home the Lombardi Trophy when they signed quarterback Joe Flacco to a lucrative contract extension. However, they’re going to have to do much more than that to repeat as champions.
They are obviously going to have to re-tool on the defensive side of the ball with the departures of Ray Lewis, Bernard Pollard, Ed Reed and others. Another key departure for them on the other side of the ball is their leading receiver from last year, Anquan Boldin, who left the team after entering free agency. His absence will definitely be felt.
Boldin had the most targets and receptions of any wide receiver or tight end last season for Baltimore, getting thrown to 112 times and catching 65 of them for 921 yards and four touchdowns. He was also a bit of a security blanket for Flacco. However, with him gone, it’s likely that Torrey Smith will be taking on an even bigger role.
Last season Smith caught just 49 passes, despite being targeted 110 times. He was second on the team in yards at 855 and first in touchdown catches at eight. He was their big play receiver, but defenses were able to prevent him from having a real breakout season as they were able to focus on interrupting his routes.
However, Smith could have an even more disappointing 2013 season without Boldin. Other than Dennis Pitta, the Ravens are really hurting at wide receiver and don’t have anyone that’s really proven themselves at that position. Smith has talent, but it’s going to be hard for him to overcome how much defenses are going to be able to focus on him in the upcoming season.