After wide receiver Steve Smith signed with the Baltimore Ravens on Friday, it was surprising (and likely refreshing for the Ravens) to hear how he viewed himself fitting into Gary Kubiak's offensive system.
"I don't see myself in Coach Kubiak's system like [Texans WR] Andre Johnson] -- I see the complementary dude of [former Texans receiver] Kevin Walter," Smith said. "I see how he contributed and how he was instrumental in getting Andre the ball but also getting his own opportunities."
In terms of production, Walter averaged 51 catches and 654 yards receiving from 2007 to 2012 with the Texans. The Ravens are probably hoping for Smith to get in the range of 60-plus catches for 800 or more yards, but you get the idea.
There are no inflated expectations of Smith being a top-10 wide receiver in the NFL this season. This is extremely important for the chemistry of the offense. Wide receiver Torrey Smith and tight end Dennis Pitta are hitting the prime of their careers, and they shouldn't have to sacrifice opportunities just to make Smith happy.
All indications point to Smith coming to terms as to what he can bring as a soon-to-be 35-year-old receiver. He only had 64 catches for 745 yards last season, among the worst numbers of his career when healthy. Last week, even before signing with the Ravens, Smith acknowledged that he is no longer a No. 1 wide receiver in this league.
He basically delivered the same message Friday, saying he wants to be a part of the offense and not the star of it. Smith had to carry the passing game in Carolina for years, and it sounds like he is happy to get that burden removed.
"I wanted to go into a system that I could be utilized but I could also benefit from other great players," Smith said. "I think Torrey Smith is going to be a fantastic player. They've got some [players] -- Jacoby Jones, Ray Rice -- they've got some guys that are already established. It takes a lot of pressure off of me, and I look forward to that.”