Derrick Mason Weighs In On Steve Smith's Recent Dip
The Smiths' seasons are heading in opposite directions, and former Ravens wide receiver Derrick Mason is concerned for one Smith and says the other will need to pick up the slack.
Steve Smith Sr. exploded onto the scene in his first six games in Baltimore, and then quieted. As soon as Smith Sr.'s numbers trailed off, Torrey Smith started to come alive.
Steve Smith's first 6 games: 35 catches, 573 yards, 4 touchdown
Steve Smith's past 4 games: 14 catches, 155 yards, 0 touchdown
Torrey Smith's first 5 games: 11 catches, 176 yards, 1 touchdown
Torrey Smith's last 5 games: 16 catches, 270 yards, 5 touchdowns
Mason knows what it's like to be a 35-year-old receiver in the NFL, so Glenn Clark of the new Glenn Clark Radio asked him whether fans should be concerned with the Ravens' current 35-year-old receiver.
"You should be," Mason told Clark.
"I'm not saying he's not going to have some games where he gets back up into the triple digits when you talk about receiving yardage, but for the most part, it's a long, grueling season and in the division that he plays in, it's a tough division. I think the second half of the season, what you're dealing with as a player, it starts to wear on you. So, Mondays and Tuesdays and Wednesdays and Thursdays become very long and your body's extremely tired quicker."
Mason opined that Smith Sr.'s incredible start may have been more attributed to circumstance, saying many of his catches were due to blown coverages or tipped balls instead of "outright beating defenses."
"I'm not saying he's going to completely shut down, but to expect him to go out there and be the No. 1 guy from this point on, I don't think that's going to happen," Mason said.
Because of his concern for the 14-year receiver, Mason said it will be up to the younger Smith to step up. Torrey has already started, notching five touchdown catches in the last five games.
"They're going to need a lot of help from Torrey for them to be very effective in the passing game," Mason said.
Torrey started slow, which brought out loud critics about his ability to be a No. 1 receiver. But even during the tougher times, Mason believed that Torrey would eventually break out this season.
"[H]e's always told me, 'I'm going to keep my head in it and I'm going to stay positive,'" Mason said. "Coming from a guy like that, that shows the maturity in the game, that shows that he understands what's going on. And that's why I believe he's going to have a better second half than he did a first half."
Torrey is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason, and Mason believes the Ravens should try everything possible to lock him up for the future.
"They need to find a way to make the numbers work and keep the guy, because he has one thing that you cannot teach anywhere, and that's 4.30 speed — and he's a big guy that can go up and get the ball," Mason said. "So find a way to keep him, but just add another guy on the other side that can take away a lot of the double teams that he was [seeing] in the first half of the season."
Steelers Win, Ravens Drop To No. 3
It was annoying to watch Le'Veon Bell put together a straight-up impressive performance to lead the Steelers to a comeback win over the Tennessee Titans.
Bell finished with a whopping 204 rushing yards to propel Pittsburgh to a 27-24 win, which pushed the Steelers to the No. 2 spot in the AFC North and the Ravens to No. 3.
"Welp #Ravens you're up! Let's get this W on #MNF vs #WhoDat!" tweeted former Ravens wide receiver Qadry Ismail.
If the postseason started today, that would mean the Steelers and would face off against the Bengals in the wild-card round.
Here are the AFC standings through 11 weeks of the season, per NFL.com:
Playoff Teams1. New England Patriots: 8-2, .800
2. Denver Broncos: 7-3, .700
3. Cincinnati Bengals: 6-3-1, .650 (host Steelers in wild-card game)
4. Indianapolis Colts: 6-4, .600 (host Chiefs in wild-card game)
5. Kansas City Chiefs: 7-3, .700
6. Pittsburgh Steelers: 7-4, .636
In The Hunt7. Miami Dolphins: 6-4, .600 (Hold No. 7 seed with superior AFC record)
8. San Diego Chargers: 6-4, .600
9. Baltimore Ravens: 6-4, .600 (Seeded ahead of Cleveland with head-to-head win)
10. Cleveland Browns: 6-4, .600
To help lift your spirits after the Steelers win, here's a clip of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger getting crushed. It was one of five sacks on the night.
Coffman Apologized For Hit, Wants To Move On
Titans tight end Chase Coffman said he reached out and apologized to Ravens assistant coach Tony Coaxum for hitting him far out of bounds and knocking him to the ground in the Week 10 matchup against Baltimore. Per Coffman, Coaxum accepted the apology and explanation.
"We've talked about it and we're both past it," Coffman said after his Monday Night Football game against the Steelers, per ESPN. "I would never go after someone intentionally to try to hurt them."
"R U Buying it?" tweeted 105.7 The Fan's Jerry Coleman after learning of Coffman's response.
Head Coaches John Harbaugh and Ken Whisenhunt say they are buyers.
In the CSNBaltimore.com video below, Harbaugh said he was disappointed in the hit, but is happy that the league responded (it fined Coffman $30,000) and that the Titans reached out to apologize.
"But Harbaugh has to be seething about what transpired," wrote ESPN's Jamison Hensley. "Based on the video, it would be hard for the Ravens to truly believe it was an accident."
Whisenhunt told media that Coffman came to him the day after the game to tell him what happened.
"He said he had inadvertently run into [him]," Whisenhunt said, per ESPN. "In fact he tried to find the coach after the game to apologize and reached out to them.
"I guess they chose to go ahead, and that's unfortunate. But nobody's approached him about his side of it. If you look at it, if you see the whole play, he was trying to stop and inadvertently ran into him."
Ravens supporters temporarily forgave Coffman last night when he caught a touchdown pass that extended the Titans' lead over the Steelers, but it was all for naught in the end.
"'Go Chase Coffman you big stupid jerk,'" tweeted Clark. "'We love you, you terrible human being.' -#Ravens fans."
Ravens Won't Face Saints WR Cooks
The Ravens' revamped secondary won't have to worry about defending Saints wide receiver Brandin Cooks Sunday. That's because his agent announced that Cooks had thumb surgery and is expected to miss four to six weeks.
"Throw in various injuries to Saints' secondary and the Ravens coming off bye and there are no excuses for Ravens in a big game for them," tweeted The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec.
Cooks was having a breakout rookie season with 53 catches for 550 yards. Now, the Ravens can turn their attention to tight end Jimmy Graham and veteran receiver Marques Colston.
"His absence will give the Ravens one less weapon to contain, although slowing down quarterback Drew Brees and the Saints' offense can never be taken for granted, even with New Orleans struggling at 4-6," wrote CSNBaltimore.com's Clifton Brown.
Chances Ravens Win Final Six Games
ESPN's Jamison Hensley assigns a percentage for how likely the Ravens are to win their remaining six games coming out of their bye week:
New Orleans Saints (4-6)
Date, time: Nov. 24, 8:30 p.m.
Site: Mercedes-Benz Superdome
Chance Ravens will win: 35 percent
San Diego Chargers (6-4)
Date, time: Nov. 30, 1 p.m.
Site: M&T Bank Stadium
Chance Ravens will win: 60 percent
Miami Dolphins (6-4)
Date, time: Dec. 7, 1 p.m.
Site: Sun Life Stadium
Chance Ravens will win: 50 percent
Jacksonville Jaguars (1-9)
Date, time: Dec. 14, 1 p.m.
Site: M&T Bank Stadium
Chance Ravens will win: 95 percent
Houston Texans (5-5)
Date, time: Dec. 21, 1 p.m.
Site: NRG Stadium
Chance Ravens will win: 55 percent
Cleveland Browns (6-4) *Date, time: Dec. 28, 1 p.m.
Site: M&T Bank Stadium
*Chance Ravens will win: 70 percent**
- "While the Ravens were on their bye week and did not play Sunday, the medical staffs of several teams were reportedly inspected by officials from the federal Drug Enforcement Administration as part of an investigation into alleged prescription drug abuse in the NFL," wrote Jeff Zrebiec. "Ravens Senior Vice President For Public And Community Relations Kevin Byrne said the team was aware of the inspections after seeing the various media reports. Byrne said that, to his knowledge, the Ravens’ medical staff has not been questioned." [The Baltimore Sun]