In last week’s W.I.N. installment, we said that the Ravens would need to improve their passing game moving forward.
Well, 389 passing yards and 3 aerial touchdowns later…mission accomplished.
For now, anyway. The next step is obviously for the team to continue to improve, and show some consistency from week to week, not take a giant step backwards between weeks 3 and 4 as they did between 1 and 2.
The New York Jets secondary doesn’t resemble that of the St. Louis Rams in the least. With players like Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie, Kyle Wilson, and Jim Leonhard, yards through the air will be much more difficult to find for Joe Flacco and company this week. New York is currently 6th in the NFL in passing defense, allowing 188.7 yards per game.
For the Ravens to have success against not only the Jets, but many of the remaining teams on their schedule (read: those not in the NFC West), rookie Torrey Smith will have to continue to develop his game. Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome was obviously an INCREDIBLE start for the former Maryland Terrapin, but he has to follow up that performance with more like it.
Not to suggest that #82 is to be expected to put up 152 yards and 3 scores every game – don’t be ridiculous.
The point is that, now that teams have film on Smith, they have to respect him. Unlike in years past, when the Ravens had supposed “vertical threats” like Demetrius Williams, Yamon Figurs, or Donte Stallworth – receivers who opposing safeties let run by without so much as a second glance – this year’s team has shown that the guy going long can haul the pigskin in for big plays.
Again, for one game only.
That’s why I hesitate to label Smith as a “weapon” in the Ravens offense. To be a true weapon, he needs to show up on Sundays consistently. Right now he is simply becoming a “threat” that opposing defenses have to be aware of and respect in their game planning. Adding Lee Evans back into the mix will only make the purple attack that much more explosive in the coming weeks and months. With potentially two viable deep threats on the outside, the underneath areas in which Anquan Boldin, young tight ends Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson, and running back Ray Rice operate in will expand almost exponentially.
Congratulations to Torrey Smith, and let’s hope his evolution from “threat” to “weapon” continues on the steep upward trajectory he set for himself against the Rams.