Best All-Time Smith Clip: Ice Up, Son!
(First off, image credit and props goes to Russell Street Report for this sweet 'Ice-Up Son!' graphic. Smith running through a brick wall and over Steelers safety Troy Polamalu is a nice touch. Well done.)
You want a receiver who won't back down to opposition.
You got him in recently signed Steve Smith, Sr.
Smith brings his famed catch phrase with him to Baltimore, which encapsulates the type of attitude and swagger the 14-year veteran adds to the Ravens offense.
"Ice up, son" was born when Smith dueled with Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib in a Carolina 24-20 victory last season.
In a back-and-fourth bout, in which Talib wildly celebrated a pass breakup and later hung on to the receiver's leg long after the whistle, Smith finished with four catches for 62 yards and Talib finished the game on the bench with a hip injury.
After the contest, NFL Media's Albert Breer asked Smith about the matchup with Talib.
"I don't know, you go ask him, 'cause he didn't finish the game," Smith said in the video below. "Ice up, son, ice up."
(Mobile users tap "View in Browser" to watch the classic "Ice Up, Son" interview below.)
The phrase has taken on a life of its own, and has even become a popular t-shirt selling for as little as $10 on eBay. Can we get these in Ravens colors, please?
When the Ravens were sifting through the wide receiver free market agent market last week, they had plenty of choices, including Hakeem Nicks, Julian Edelman and Eric Decker. Several guys could have filled the chain-moving role they needed. But Smith brought something the others couldn't.
"The Ravens could've signed a bigger receiver. But Smith, who hasn't missed more than two games in a regular season since 2005, is more dependable than Nicks," wrote ESPN's Jamison Hensley. "The Ravens could've added a younger receiver. But Smith has a more proven track record than Edelman and Decker, who had All-Pro quarterbacks throwing the ball to them.
"In the end, the Ravens chose Smith over everyone else for one reason: He doesn't just help them win; he has the mental toughness to will them to win."
Smith, 34, may not be the same young player who went to the Pro Bowl five times, but Hensley says the Ravens don't need him to be. Baltimore has Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones' speed to stretch the field, and Dennis Pitta to run the intermediate routes. What the Ravens needed was the attitude they lost when Anquan Boldin was traded to the San Francisco 49ers.
"Boldin is bigger, but Smith is badder," wrote Hensley.
"He's 5-foot-9, 185 pounds of heart, muscle and pure intensity. During his 13 years with the Carolina Panthers, he built a reputation for intimidating everyone on the field when he's often the smallest one on it. … Smith is just as fearless [as Boldin] when it comes to taking a hit and fighting for extra yards. He's just as tenacious when fighting for the ball when it's tight coverage. He's just as clutch when it comes to wanting the ball in the most critical situations."
In his younger years, Smith let that intensity get away from him at times. Those incidents are well-documented. He's quarreled with his own teammates and Panthers General Manager Dave Gettleman reportedly felt Smith was a distraction, leading to his release.
ESPN Panthers reporter David Newton was asked if the Ravens should be concerned about Smith's influence in the locker room.
In short, his answer is "no."
"As I've said repeatedly through this process, the Steve Smith of five years ago might have been an issue in the locker room," Newton wrote. "The Steve Smith of today – not so much. He's grown up a lot since his last incident with a teammate in 2008. I won't say he's mellowed, but football no longer is his entire life as it once was. He's enjoying life on and off the field more than ever.
"Does that mean he won't get in the face of a teammate if he feels that player isn't pulling his weight? No. But don't you want that to a certain level? Smith is a fiery player, and sometimes he gets fiery with his teammates. He's also a player teammates and opponents have to respect."
Smith said he knows what it's like when a new guy comes into a locker room and is outspoken and tries to take things over. He says those guys need to "get in line." Smith will hold himself to the same standard in Baltimore.
How does he respond to people who say they don't want a "troublemaker" or a guy with "too much swagger?"
"You can look up my criminal background record. Nothing. So, first of all, we can get that out the window," Smith told WNST's Drew Forrester. "I don't do any of those things that people associate thugs to be. I save my money, I take care of my family, I'm not a dead-beat dad.
"Because I'm very professionally confident talks about his new team with Drew) in my game, that means you need to listen to that thing on the radio because when I catch that ball in Baltimore, in Carolina, New England, wherever it is, I'm going to show out and I'm going to play well and I'm going to play within the framework of the game. But I'm gonna let you know how I did it, when I did it, what time I did it, and the television will show it again on ESPN to repeat that. So if that's too much confidence and swagger, I guess you need to watch a different business because this is the business I'm in."
Grading Ravens' Offseason Moves
The first wave of free agency is over and the Ravens had a busy week, re-signing five of their own players and adding Smith.
General Manager Ozzie Newsome brought back some of the squad's foundational pieces in tight end Dennis Pitta, left tackle Eugene Monroe, inside linebacker Daryl Smith and receiver Jacoby Jones. They also brought back a key special teamer in safety Jeromy Miles. Steve Smith is the only player the Ravens have signed from another team.
How do analysts grade the front office's work through the first week?
CBSSports.com's Pete Prisco gave the Raves a B-plus. Only two teams got better grades: the Washington Redskins (A-minus) and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (A).
"This team gets it," wrote Prisco. "They made keeping their own a priority and pretty much did just that. … The biggest loss was defensive end Arthur Jones, who they hated to lose."
Where Oher Ranks Among Ravens First-Rounders
Hensley ranked all the Ravens' first-round draft picks in light of 2009's No. 23-overall pick Michael Oher leaving Baltimore to play for the Tennessee Titans.
Of the 17 first-rounders in Ravens history, Hensley ranks Oher at No. 14.
He's behind Ray Lewis, Jonathan Ogden, Ed Reed, Jamal Lewis, Terrell Suggs, Haloti Ngata, Chris McAlister, Joe Flacco, Todd Heap, Peter Boulware, Duane Starks, Ben Grubbs and Jimmy Smith.
The only players behind Oher are Mark Clayton, Kyle Boller and Travis Taylor.
Inside The Ravens Draft Room
Baltimore still needs to find a playmaking free safety, a center, a tackle and depth at defensive end, receiver, cornerback and running back.
Who in the draft could help fill these roles?
In the NFL Network video below, Charles Davis and Daniel Jeremiah recommend which draft prospects could help:
- @GerrySandusky: Congratulations to Ravens [Marketing] VP Gabrielle Dow. Honored by Smart CEO's Exec. Management Awards. #EWawards2014
- With Oher gone, would Eric Winston be an upgrade? [Russell Street Report]
- @RavensInsider: Daryl Smith deal has base value of $13.6 million, worth up to $16.1 million with escalator clauses in 2015, 2016, 2017. Bonus $3.5 million. … Daryl Smith nonguaranteed base salaries are $1.6 million, $2.5M, $3M and $3M, cap figures $2.475M, $3.375M, $3.875M, $3.875M [Twitter]
- @RavensInsider: Tandon Doss two-year deal worth $1.505 million, $65,000 signing bonus, salaries $645,000, $745,000, annual $25,000 workout bonus [Twitter]
- @PFF_Gordon: In the minority but I think T. Doss is still capable of becoming a good receiver. Good PR with Jones was out too. [Twitter]
- Browns center Alex Mack is getting "no interest" from teams around the league after Cleveland put the transition tag on him. [ProFootballTalk.com]
- Ray Lewis' Owings Mills house is for sale again, this time at a cheaper $950,000 price tag instead of the $1.1 million asking price last summer. [The Baltimore Sun]
- @ryanmink: Clemson WR Sammy Watkins, the top WR in this year's draft, compares himself to @TorreySmithWR. Interesting. [Twitter]
- @BPierce_30: Still at work and they in here making me hurt! Lol hardest day yet #GrindDontStop [Twitter]
- @ElamVsElo: I wana be greattttttttttt..! [Twitter]