Steve Smith Uncomfortable In West Coast Offense, NFL Debates Tougher Penalties


Aug 7, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith (89) is greeted by team mascot Poe prior to the game against the San Francisco 49ers at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to lunchtime links, where we round up all the latest Ravens news from around the web for your convenient consumption.  Today we reveal that Steve Smith is uncomfortable in the West Coast offense, the NFL is considering tougher penalties for domestic violence incidents, the governor of Maine isn’t happy with Ray Rice’s suspension, and Matt Elam isn’t happy with his performance last season.

Mark Maske at the Washington Post revealed that the NFL is considering tougher penalties for future incidents involving domestic violence following the Ray Rice suspension.  This is not a shock or a surprise after the horrendous backlash that followed Rice’s two game suspension, which many deemed too short.  Maske reports that the NFL is considering a one year ban as part of its revision for second time offenders, with a 4-6 game ban for first timers.  This move would go a long way in helping the league recover from it’s PR black eye following the Rice incident.

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Among those criticizing Rice’s suspension is Maine governor Paul LePage, who himself was a victim of domestic violence when he was growing up.  LePage sent a letter to Roger Goodell in which he noted that the short suspension sends the message that it is acceptable “for professional athletes to beat women, just for the sake of ratings.”  LePage suggested that Rice receive a three year suspension instead.  While we won’t discount what Rice did, which is a terrible thing that should never be tolerated, we are also curious why the governor of Maine is speaking out now, as election season gears up.  And a couple of weeks after everybody else expressed their outrage.

Greg Bedard at had a three question interview with Steve Smith for Monday Morning Quarterback, and Smith was honest about how strange it is to learn a new offense for the first time in nearly 12 years.  Smith told Bedard that learning the West Coast offense is a “challenge” and that it makes him “uncomfortable.”  Smith admits that he is having to work extra hard to learn the system but that he enjoys the challenge.  It’s refreshing honesty when most players in his situation (aka Joe Flacco) typically blow this question off and say it’s easy to make the switch.

Most would say that Matt Elam had a pretty solid 2013 season, but he doesn’t agree.  Clifton Brown at CSN Baltimore reports that Elam is very critical of his performance last year and feels like he has a lot of room to improve.  “I feel like I had a terrible rookie season,” Elam said. “That’s why I’m coming in this year preparing the way I am, and I’m looking forward to doing big things this year. Working on your craft and knowing what you’re doing and being able to play fast. If you can play fast, you’ll be very confident.”  We admire Elam’s desire to improve, and it’s part of the reason why we predicted him to break out in 2014.