Joe Flacco: Steve Smith 'Going To Get A Lot Of Respect Everywhere We Go'


A reporter asked Joe Flacco a question in Wednesday's press conference about whether his receivers hassle him if they're not getting the ball enough. That's when another reporter chimed in to say, "He's basically asking, 'Did Steve Smith saying something to you?'"

Flacco laughed off the question and responded, "No, I don't worry about Steve. Me and Steve are good. I think Steve is great, and he understands what it is all about."

Smith had a quiet game in his return to action last week against Buffalo. He caught five passes for a total of 19 yards in his first game since tearing his Achilles last October. He didn't exactly burst onto the scene in his return, but he showed he still commands plenty of attention from opposing defenses.

On Mike Wallace's 66-yard touchdown, Smith attracted a double team that left Wallace single covered by a safety over the middle.

"He is going to get a lot of respect everywhere we go; I don't care that he just came off the injury," Flacco said. "I think that you can see out there that he is very explosive and is going to have the ability to make a ton of plays for us this year. Teams are definitely going to have to respect him, and it is going to open up guys."

Smith has been Baltimore's biggest playmaker since joining the Ravens in 2014. He topped 1,000 receiving yards in his first season with the Ravens and was on track to do so again last year before going down in Week 7.

The offense is at its best when Smith is involved, and the Ravens showed an effort in Week 1 to make sure the veteran pass catcher gets his touches. Flacco targeted Smith a team-high nine times, and he threw Smith's direction on three of his first six passing attempts.

"Believe me, I want to get Steve the ball," Flacco said. "I think the biggest thing with Steve, and why we can have a good relationship, is that he knows I want to get him the ball, and he knows that we all want to go out there and do well."

Returning to his old form could take a few weeks. A ruptured Achilles is a major injury to recover from, and Smith had a grueling offseason recovery just to get himself ready for the season opener.

"Honestly, for me, I was just trying to get through the game," Smith said. "If I make it through the game,  it was good. Beggars can't be choosers."

Also, having a quiet first game isn't necessarily an indicator of what's to come. Smith had 13 receiving yards in Week 1 last year and followed it up with a 10-catch, 150-yard outing the next game.

As a whole, the offense still has plenty of work to do to get the passing game fully in sync early in the year. The group hasn't worked together too much this year because Flacco saw action in just one preseason game and Smith, Dennis Pitta and Breshad Perriman didn't catch any passes from their starting quarterback in the exhibition games.

"We have to improve our passing game, we have to become more precise – protection wise, timing wise, throwing and catching wise – but, we're going to," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "We've had guys back here for about a week and a half now. Our guys will go to work and will continue to get better."

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