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Late For Work 7/31: Shannon Sharpe Has Advice For Steve Smith

Posted Jul 31, 2014

Boldin will get some Baltimore closure. Osemele knocks Ngata to ground. Sheppard claimed by Packers.


Shannon Sharpe Has Advice For Steve Smith

Hall of Fame tight end Shannon Sharpe has been in Steve Smith’s shoes.

See if this rings any bells when you think of Smith:

Sharpe once came to Baltimore after playing his entire career with the franchise that drafted him (ring). The transition came in the twilight years of his career, and outsiders questioned his ability to continue to produce (ring, ring). Coming off a down year, Sharpe was highly motivated to prove he could still be a highly effective pass catcher (ring). The multi-time Pro Bowler was a loud, fiery leader that never backed down from a challenge (ring).

You could replace Sharpe’s name with Smith’s in any of those sentences, and they would still be true. It’s the same story, and Smith would like his to end like Sharpe’s – with a Super Bowl ring.

That’s why Sharpe is qualified to offer some advice:

Be careful about wanting to prove yourself too much – because your new team will not revolve around you the way it may have with the Panthers.

“The biggest problem is that when somebody brings you in via free agency, [they] fall in love with that player, but you have to realize you’re probably not running that offense,” Sharpe told WNST’s Glenn Clark. “So you’re asking a player that you fell in love with from another system to come in and do exactly what you wanted him to do in your system when you’re not going to give him those opportunities.”

He continued: “[When I came to Baltimore] I didn’t have this preconceived notion that I was going to all of a sudden be a guy that was going to come in and pick off right where I left off in Denver,” Sharpe said. “Because [the Ravens] had already prepared me – this wasn’t my type of offense.”

Former Ravens Head Coach Brian Billick was up front with Sharpe. Billick told him that he wasn’t going to catch 70 or 80 balls like he was accustomed to in Denver. In Baltimore, they had a run-first offense backed by a legendary defense.

For Smith, he is coming into a system where Torrey Smith is the top receiver and deep threat. Tight end Dennis Pitta is Joe Flacco’s established security blanket. Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak has a run-first system backed by a tight end-friendly passing game.

So Smith may not get as many opportunities to prove himself as much as he might like.

“You want to prove to yourself because you want to make sure now, ‘OK, this team gave up on me, but what was their reason? Can I still go out there and produce?’” Sharpe said.  “Yeah, you can see a person on tape, but until you get that actual person in your building, get him into your system and get him on the practice field and put him in game-type situations, you really don’t know what you have.”

That’s why Sharpe says Smith should “just be productive” with the opportunities he does get.

The likelihood of catching 100 balls for 1,500 yards and double-digit touchdowns is not high for Smith and he has admitted that himself but he can still be a valuable commodity. Sharpe sees him catching 50 to 60 passes for 700 or 800 yards and maybe five to seven touchdowns.

“I think that would be a very good season for him,” Sharpe said.

“For me, I knew if I stayed healthy I could be productive. Was I going to catch 80 balls and double-digit touchdowns? No, but I knew I could be productive and I could make plays that at the end of the day the Ravens would be happy with, and the fans would really appreciate what I brought to the table. I think it worked out well for everybody. … The Ravens were giving me that opportunity and I was forever grateful, and I was able to go out there and make some plays. It was very special the two years that I was in Baltimore.”

Boldin Will Get Some Baltimore Closure

Anquan Boldin will be back in Baltimore next week.

It will be the first time the former Ravens Super Bowl-winning receiver will be back in the Under Armour Performance Center and at M&T Bank Stadium, providing him with an opportunity to formally get some closure after an abrupt and unexpected trade to San Francisco after the Super Bowl season.

“I didn’t get the chance for a proper goodbye,” said Boldin, per ESPN’s Bill Williamson. “I look forward to it.”

Ravens fans will get their chance for closure too.

They have two opportunities to see Boldin. He will play in the first preseason game on Aug. 7. And for those who don’t have tickets, the Ravens are also holding a free open practice at the stadium the next day, Aug. 8, at 1 p.m.

Osemele Knocks Ngata, Williams To Ground

If there is any doubt as to how Kelechi Osemele feels after back surgery, this ought to erase it.

The Ravens left guard delivered a block Wednesday that knocked defensive tackle Haloti Ngata to the ground, according to ESPN’s Jamison Hensley.

He wasn’t done there.

K.O. did the same thing to second-year defensive tackle Brandon Williams later in practice.

Let me tell you, those are two BIG boys. That’s a combined 675 pounds Osemele laid out.

“After watching Osemele in practice, you realize how much his absence last year … hurt the Ravens' offensive line,” wrote Hensley.

WR Sheppard Claimed By Green Bay Packers

On Tuesday morning, wide receiver Gerrard Sheppard was a Raven.

By Wednesday afternoon, Sheppard was a Green Bay Packer.

Thus is the life of an NFL player.

Sheppard, a former Towson wide receiver and McDonogh graduate, was cut by the Ravens Tuesday when they signed defensive back Marrio Norman to add depth to the injury-riddled cornerbacks group. The Packers claimed Sheppard off waivers the next day, according to The Baltimore Sun.

Sheppard bid farewell via Instagram.

“God gets the Glory in each & every situation, Sheppard wrote. “The fans of the Purple and Black will always have a special place in my heart. However, tomorrow I will be in a new city, wearing diff colors. Much Love to my supporters. #ItsAJourney”

Ravens Can Withstand Injuries At Defensive Line

In what appeared to be a routine running play in practice, two Ravens rookies went down with injuries.

Defensive linemen Timmy Jernigan (second round) and Brent Urban (fourth round) both left practice, with Urban being carted off the field. Jernigan’s injury doesn’t appear serious, but the Ravens are more concerned about Urban’s knee injury.

The unit was shaping to be one of the best in years, but The Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec believes it can absorb the blow.

Both Jernigan and Urban had stood out early in training camp and appeared to be well on their way to earning a spot in the Ravens' defensive line rotation, which was shaping up to be one of the team's strengths,” Zrebiec wrote.

“But if there is any position where the Ravens can withstand a significant injury, it's probably the defensive line. In back-to-back offseasons, Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome has prioritized getting bigger and younger along the defensive front.”

Quick Hits

  • “The biggest surprise of camp has been wide receiver Kamar Aiken,” wrote Hensley. “He wasn't on the radar this offseason, but he likely has passed Deonte Thompson and LaQuan Williams on the depth chart with what he's done this summer. It seems like he makes a catch every day that makes you notice him.” [ESPN]
  • Former Ravens fullback Vonta Leach still wants to play in the NFL and is preparing in case a team gives him a call. "Oh yeah, I'm staying in shape," Leach said. "I still want to play, and I'm staying in shape. We'll see how it goes. I'd rather get a call and be ready than get a call and not be ready. I work out every day, twice a day, and I'm doing good. A lot of teams and coaches have sent text message to make sure that I'm staying in shape. You never know when you might get that call. I’ve played in this league a long time. I know how this business works. You've got to be ready." [The Baltimore Sun]
  • @ESPNNFL: Stat of the Day: BAL has not allowed more than 4.0 yards/rush in 18 straight seasons. Next longest streak, MIN (9). [Twitter]
  • @RavensInsider: Jah Reid on knee injury to Brent Urban on his block: 'He went down, and it didn't sound good. Hopefully, it's not that bad.' [Twitter]
  • @MB_uno4 [Marlon Brown]: Shoutout to @UnderArmour !!! Thankful to be apart of the brand. [Twitter]
  • @TeamFlacco: Thank you for all your support during #RavensCamp! [Twitter]

  • The man who gives Flacco that buzz cut … @klassico20: So yesterday i had the honor to meet and cut @TeamFlacco. Thanks so much for the opportunity! [Twitter]

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