Steve Smith Sounds Off On Panthers Trade Talk
There are plenty of Steve Smith Sr. supporters who feel bad for the guy.
They want him to say goodbye to his 15-year NFL career with at least one more shot at a Super Bowl ring, and the chances are slim with the 1-5 Ravens.
One of those supporters includes his son, Peyton, who took to social media last week and said the Carolina Panthers should trade all their receivers to Baltimore to bring back his dad. After all, Smith's former team has a much better chance at the Lombardi Trophy as it sits atop the NFC South standings with a perfect 6-0 record.
While it seems everyone wants to write their own version of a perfect storybook ending, Smith seems to be the only one not sulking about his current situation. And his attitude is exactly what the Ravens need to right the ship this season.
"Lots of articles on opinions what's best for ME!!," Smith wrote on Instagram, with an image of him smiling in a Ravens uniform and the words "Straight Outta Baltimore" overtop.
"The season isn't going as well as #ravensnation would like but I'm not interested in being traded to a 'Contender' its week 7 not the Superbowl you can't guarantee anything in this league but I know when I left #panthernation I wanted to be a raven because I was born to be @ravens I'm happy right where I am."
It's hard for outsiders to see why Smith loves Baltimore so much.
"What do [the 1-5 Ravens] need with Steve Smith? Your season's over Baltimore," said NFL Network's Chris Wessling last week. "Trade Steve Smith back home to the Panthers. Let him have a playoff run to seal his Hall of Fame chances."
It isn't surprising that he doesn't want to return to Carolina, even with all their success, when you think about how they parted. He took exception to the idea that he was a locker room "distraction" and too old to produce.
Head Coach John Harbaugh welcomed everything that comes with Smith, including his production and personality. The Ravens' smash mouth, physical style and culture that encourages players to be their best selves has been a perfect fit for the loquacious Smith. Perhaps that's one of the reasons Smith said he'd "quit" if the Ravens trade him away. Harbaugh said there was "no chance" of that.
And Smith doesn't necessarily need a ring to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Individually, Smith is off to one of the best seasons of his career. He only needs 128 yards to make the all-time top-10 list in receiving yards. As long as he avoids another injury, that distinction looks to be a lock. He'd pass Cris Carter on the list, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2013.
Even at 36, with microfractures in his back and missing one game, Smith is on pace for 1,530 receiving yards, which would be 33 yards short of the best season of his career.
"Winning a Superbowl would be fun but what makes us play this game is the work we put into it day after day leading up to Sunday/Funday I'm not coming back what's in the past is in the past!!!! #agent89 is black/purple#playlikeAraven," Smith concluded on Instagram.
Flacco's Transition To Trestman Slower Than To Kubiak
It's kind of crazy when you think about how smooth the transition was for Joe Flacco and Gary Kubiak.
Based on the results, it seemed like it was easy for the two to get on the same page. Flacco had his best statistical season and the Ravens posted a franchise-high 25.6 points (eighth in the NFL) and 364.9 yards (12th) per game.
It's been a different story this year, as the offense has been hot and cold the first six weeks.
There are several factors at play, including a rotating group at receiver due to injury and uneven production from the running game, but even Flacco admitted last week that he wished he was a little more comfortable in the offense.
"The other factor is an on-going feeling-out process between Flacco and offensive coordinator Marc Trestman," wrote ESPN's Jamison Hensley. "The transition for Flacco obviously is a little slower than it was with Gary Kubiak last season.
"Flacco acknowledged that it remains a work in progress to figure out how Trestman thinks and what he wants. That has slowed down the pace of the offense."
Could Ravens Play In London?
Every time the NFL features a game in London, all other 30 fan bases wonder if their teams could play a game across the pond.
Baltimore is no different.
Russell Street Report sees one possible avenue next year.
"If the current standings hold, the AFC North last place Ravens will travel to face the AFC South last place Jaguars during the 2016 season," wrote Tony Lombardi. "And as they are [Sunday], the Jaguars are frequent visitors to Wembley Stadium in London. For all of you who like to travel with the team, get your passports ready!"
Sometimes It's Just Nice To See Steelers Lose
When things aren't going Ravens Nation's way, sometimes the only thing that can bring satisfaction is watching a hated rival lose.
The Pittsburg Steelers fell to the 1-5 Kansas City Chiefs while the Ravens had the day off Sunday. To watch the highlights, here ya go.
The loss drops the Steelers to 4-3 on the season, which is actually quite good considering they've been without Ben Roethlisberger for the last four games.
Cardinals Found Way To Build Secondary, Ravens Haven't
The Arizona Cardinals are strong nine-point favorites to beat the Ravens tonight.
One of their advantages is their secondary, which they have built through the draft over the last several years. Meanwhile, the Ravens secondary continues to be the team's Achilles heel for the second consecutive season.
"There's seemingly no surefire recipe for success in building an NFL secondary, but one thing could become abundantly clear when the Ravens face the Arizona Cardinals on Monday night at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals, who have perhaps the league's most ball-hawking secondary, have found a formula that works for them, while the Ravens clearly haven't," wrote The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec.
The Cardinals have used a conventional approach in building their defensive backs unit, nabbing cornerback Patrick Peterson and safeties Tyrann Mathieu, Deone Bucannon and Rashad Johnson in either the first or third rounds of the draft. The group is considered the backbone of their defense, which leads the league with 11 interceptions.
The Ravens have tried to develop defensive backs via the draft too. Zrebiec points out that General Manager Ozzie Newsome has used eight of the team's 51 draft picks on defensive backs since 2010. It's not a ton, but the picks they have used haven't panned out with the exception of Jimmy Smith.
"Only three of those — cornerback Jimmy Smith (2011 first round), safety Matt Elam (2013 first round) and safety Terrence Brooks (2014 third round) — were taken in the first three rounds," wrote Zrebiec. "The jury is still out on Walker, but other defensive backs the Ravens have selected in recent years, including Chykie Brown and Asa Jackson, haven't worked out."