Ravens: Steve Smith Sr. is making rookie mistakes, but why?


Sep 20, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith (89) reacts after the Oakland Raiders were called for pass interference near the end zone in the second quarter at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Ravens have let their fans down two consecutive weeks now and it just so happens that one of their most important assets has been on the raw end of the deal both weeks. I’m referring to none other than veteran wide receiver Steve Smith Sr., who hasn’t given fans much reason to jump for joy just yet.

I say “just yet” because I’m confident that this will soon change, given Smith’s track record, his improvements from Week 1, and the fact that this is his final season and he’s all about going out with a bang. I will say, though, that he needs to pick things up and quick.

Week 1, Smith only recorded two receptions for 13 yards per NFL.com and he dropped what would have been a touchdown pass, maybe even for the win, towards the end of the fourth quarter. That’s something that we don’t usually see from him, but it automatically caught the attention from his team and his critics of course.

He did own up to his performance though and showed that he was focused on changing the outcome in Oakland. While he was better, the outcome was the same; the Ravens lost.

Now, I will say that there were improvements from an overall bad performance from the offense in Denver, but those improvements didn’t lead to a victory.

Against Oakland, Baltimore’s offense rallied back from two 10-point deficits and put their team in a good spot, tying things up at 30 with just seven minutes to go in the fourth quarter. In the fourth, the Ravens had an opportunity to seal the deal or at least put the Raiders in a position where they had no choice but to get a touchdown on their last drive.

However, Baltimore was not able to do that, but it’s not like the opportunity wasn’t there for the taking. After Smith made a few catches to keep the chains moving for the Ravens in the final minutes of the game, he was targeted on an outside pass towards the right of the end zone. He grabbed the ball out of the air with no problem, but failed to take care of the most important part of the catch; his feet.

September 20, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith (89) catches a pass against Oakland Raiders cornerback D.J. Hayden (25) and free safety Charles Woodson (24) during the third quarter at O.co Coliseum. The Raiders defeated the Ravens 37-33. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Smith has been in this league long enough to know that in a moment like that one, the most important thing is positioning your feet so that you’re able to stay in bounds on the catch and by Harbaugh’s reaction you could tell that he was likely thinking the same thing.

If it were someone different, I might not be talking about this, but it’s the fact that it came from the veteran during a time where the Ravens needed his experience level to prevail the most. And that’s why along with the Ravens losing their first two games on the road, Smith has too experienced a couple losses of his own both weeks now and the jury is still out on how he’ll perform in front of his home crowd on Sunday if given an opportunity to close the game out again.

Next: Ravens grades vs Raiders, week 2

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