"We're two different players," Boldin told reporters at a charity basketball game. "We bring two completely differently things to the table. I think the thing that both of us do have is we want to win, bottom line, and we'll do whatever it takes to do that."
Statistically speaking, Smith and Boldin are the same player. Over the past five seasons, Smith has produced 4,849 yards receiving and Boldin has totaled 4,848 yards. Yes, exactly one yard separates them.
The Ravens signed Smith in free agency to address the void left by Boldin, who was traded by the team last year. Smith brings the same toughness and experience as Boldin.
No one is suggesting Smith and Boldin bring the same skill set. Smith is four inches shorter and 37 pounds lighter than Boldin.
Their results since 2009, though, are very similar when you look at touchdown passes (Boldin 25, Smith 24), yards after the catch per reception (Smith 4.41, Boldin 4.25), red zone receptions (Boldin 29, Smith 22) and catches when the ball traveled at least 15 yards in the air (Smith 87, Boldin 75). This underscores how both receivers make plays when the ball is in their hands, step up inside the 20-yard line and stretch the field.
"I can tell you this: I'm not Anquan Boldin," Smith said last month. "I respect the heck out of 'Q,' and what 'Q' brings to the table is what 'Q' brings to the table. I'm Steve Smith, and what I bring to the table as a Baltimore Raven, I have to earn that, and my time on the field will display what I bring to the table."
What Smith will bring to the table will remind many of Boldin. He has the same fiery attitude and shows no fear in making that clutch catch over the middle.
Smith and Boldin may not want to see the similarities, but the numbers and their impact suggest otherwise.