Now Smith will have to take over for his former mentor.
With Boldin getting traded to the San Francisco 49ers this offseason, Smith is the likely candidate to emerge as the team’s No. 1 receiver.
And while his responsibility may grow within the offense, the third-year receiver is downplaying any greater expectations that accompany Boldin’s departure.
“I feel like my job is still the same,” he said. “I’m going to be a receiver on the Ravens. When the ball is thrown my way, I got to make a play. I don’t look at it as I’m carrying any more weight.”
Smith plans to simply maintain his approach that’s proven successful thus far.
“I’ll be the same person,” Smith said. “I don’t feel like I have to do anything more than I’ve done in the past. My role is the same as a receiver – go out there and make plays on balls thrown.”
Smith has already come a long way in a short time with the Ravens.
He was initially viewed as a speedy, but raw, receiver that could beat defenses over the top.
But since getting taken by the Ravens in the second round of the 2011 draft, Smith has developed a well-rounded game. He’s drastically improved his hands and route running, and can do more than just go deep.
His production during his first two seasons has been almost identical – 50 catches for 841 receiving yards and seven touchdowns in 2011, and 49 catches for 855 yards and eight touchdowns last year – and now the Ravens hope his continued development can offset the loss in Boldin’s 60-plus catches and 900 receiving yards.
“The biggest difference is that you’re losing a veteran leader and someone who is experienced in the slot; it’s going to be a whole new person in there,” Smith said. “But I’m playing the same position, it really isn’t anything different.”
Smith does see himself growing into more of a leader on offense, along with quarterback
“As a leader, lead by example and try to lead our guys in the right direction,” Smith said. “We’ll be fine. We have a bunch of guys who are already great leaders on our team, so it’s not like anyone has to try to go up and give nice motivational speeches for us to win. You can lead by example.”