Going on 35 years old, Steve Smith has no illusions of grandeur.
The five-time Pro Bowler knows he’s not a No. 1 wide receiver anymore.
Smith made that clear to reporters Friday after signing, relaying how he sees himself fitting into new Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak’s system, and pulling back the curtain on what their conversations may have sounded like.
“I don’t see myself in Coach Kubiak’s system like [Texans wide receiver] Andre Johnson],” Smith said. “I see the complementary dude of [former Texans wide receiver] Kevin Walter.
“I see how he contributed and how he was instrumental in getting Andre the ball but also getting his own opportunities.”
Make no mistake, Smith doesn’t actually see himself being a similar player to Walter. Smith is a 5-foot-9, 185-pound firecracker. Walter is a 6-foot-3, 218-pound possession receiver.
But their roles could be similar. It’s taking the heat off everyone else and being a go-to receiver when the quarterback needs help.
Walter spent seven years in Houston with Kubiak. During the six years he was starting, he averaged 51.5 receptions, 653.8 yards and four touchdowns a season. His best year, in 2008, he put up 60 catches for 899 yards and eight scores.
Meanwhile, Johnson was the one putting up 1,000-yard seasons and going to Pro Bowls nearly every year. He was the showcase. Walter was doing the dirty work.
“Kubiak, I know his system. I’ve seen his system; I’ve seen the very creative ways they’ve gotten other guys the ball. I want to be a part of that,” Smith said.
“[Kubiak] used a lot of guys in his system, and I wanted to go into a system that I could be utilized but I could also benefit from other great players.”
Smith said he thinks
Smith can get open in a variety of ways to help the offense. Last season, he was targeted mostly on slants, hitches and crossing routes, according to a route chart from Pro Football Focus (PFF). He was most effective for his quarterback on crossing routes and hitches.
That kind of work in Baltimore should open up the deep post and go routes for Smith and Jones. The Ravens were lacking a receiver who could exploit the middle of the field last season, and now they have two options with Smith and tight end