Steve Smith Grumpy After Missing Wife's Birthday, Schools Eagles Rookie
Steve Smith Sr. seemed a little grumpy yesterday.
The 15-year veteran made it abundantly clear that he wasn't happy to be at the Ravens-Eagles joint practices when he could have been home with his lovely wife, Angie, celebrating her birthday.
"Today's my wife's birthday, so I'm not at home," he told a group of reporters, including The Baltimore Sun's Jon Meoli. "I'm over here doing this bull and missing my wife's birthday. That's my honest opinion. I'd rather be at home singing happy birthday to my wife, but I'm out here getting questioned to assess a rookie corner."
We'll get to the rookie in just a minute.
But first, this is exactly why Smith is ready to retire after this season. He wants to spend more time with his family, and he's missed his wife's birthday while at training camp 15 years in a row. He refuses to make it 16.
The good news is that if he has to practice, at least it wasn't as grueling, per Smith, as the ones in Owings Mills with Head Coach John Harbaugh. The lighter session was a bit surprising, considering Chip Kelly's reputation for frenetic tempos and former players complaining about being burnt out by them.
Maybe Wednesday's joint practice lacked a little juice? Or … maybe it was too similar to juice? It's a little confusing.
"Have you heard about our practices?" Smith asked. "Exactly. We're three hours. This 2:15, 2:45, man, this is like apple juice. It's great."
Harbaugh is developing a reputation of his own for his grueling three-hour sessions. Several Ravens veterans, who have participated in multiple teams' training camps around the league, said it's the hardest they've ever experienced. (Harbaugh thinks that's just a "child birth" effect. Watch the video below for an explanation. Mobile users, tap "View in browser" at the top of the page.)
To be fair to the Eagles, Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer said that yesterday was an unusual and out-of-character practice for Kelly and his Eagles. They let up on the gas a little bit, and the offense actually huddled, which isn't normal. However, McLane said it is common for the Eagles to hold two-hour sessions, so even if they pick up the tempo, Smith will still be sipping on that apple juice.
And now back to that rookie. He'll also have another opportunity to school Eagles cornerback Eric Rowe.
Rowe was selected in the second round of the draft last April after four years at the University of Utah, the same school Smith attended. Rowe grew up watching Smith embarrass NFL cornerbacks, and had his first opportunity to meet Smith when he visited his alma mater a few years ago to speak to the team.
Smith was laid back and friendly at that meeting. But when the pads came on Wednesday, Smith flipped the switch and became his usual shifty, trash-talking self.
"He told me to get my feet right. And then when I broke up the pass, he was like, 'I saw in your eyes, it looked like you [soiled] yourself,'" Rowe told McLane. "And I was like, 'No, man, I don't panic out here.' I expected that coming from him, but I just laughed."
The pass breakup came in the end zone, but the veteran was able to provide Rowe with a few lessons. It wasn't uncommon to see the 36-year-old receiver beat the rookie, who is 14 years younger.
"He's just crafty within his routes," Rowe said of Smith. "He's just doing stuff obviously I haven't seen except for, like, [veteran Eagles receiver] Miles Austin."
So, what are Smith's thoughts on Rowe? He'd prefer not to have to answer such questions, but since reporters asked…
"He made a play, I think," Smith said. "You can write whatever you want. You're going to find out Saturday. It's 15 years, bro. Fifteen years, come on. A little guy - I'm the guy from Utah. He's from Utah. We're going to come out here, make plays, have fun.
"But I can't assess someone out of a six-second route if he's going to be the next Deion Sanders. I'm not saying that he won't."
Tim Tebow Parts A Fight Like Red Sea
For the most part, the joint practices yesterday were competitive, but amicable. There was nothing close to the brawl that broke out between the Cowboys and Rams.
There were a few scuffles, however, according to McLane. First,* *safety Will Hill gave Jordan Matthews a "little pop at the end of a play that sent the Eagles receiver to the ground." Matthews walked off the field with what appeared to be an injured arm, but returned and nothing more came of it.
There was also a brief scuffle between the Eagles' third-team offense and the Ravens' third-unit defense, but neither McLane nor any other reporters I've found could identify the culprits. All they saw was who broke it up.
Of course it was the nicest guy in the world, quarterback Tim Tebow. Mike Tanier of Bleacher Report used a well-known Bible story to help paint the picture of Tebow bringing peace to practice.
Campanaro Playing Like Top 3 Receiver
Watch out, Michael Campanaro is coming on strong in one of the tightest battles of the summer.
After having a big season opener with a 45-yard touchdown reception, Campanaro is stacking strong practices, including in Philadelphia yesterday. He caught two touchdown passes and created mismatch problems against the Eagles secondary, per Russell Street Report's Brian Bower.
"Campanaro got open consistently during seven-on-seven drills, and was a favorite target for quarterback Joe Flacco," added CSNBaltimore.com's Clifton Brown.
The second-year player has done enough to make Brown believe Campanaro has moved up the depth chart all the way to No. 3.
"[He] may be a big part of the game plan for Week 1 in Denver," Brown wrote. "We know Perriman is hurt. Marlon Brown has been slowed in camp by nagging injuries. At this point, Steve Smith, Kamar Aiken, and Campanaro are performing like the top three receivers on the roster."
Campanaro has always had the potential, but nagging leg injuries have been his stumbling block. He was held out of organized team activities and minicamp this offseason with a quad issue. He's been working hard to prepare his body for the rigors of the game.
"He plays outside, but he should be really good in the slot," Harbaugh said of Campanaro. "Guys that have played that position look like him a little bit. He runs away from coverage, he's quick, he's got [a] good feel for where the coverage is coming from."
A Bit Of A Background On Perriman's Knee
There may be a reason rookie wide receiver Breshad Perriman is taking longer than doctors expected to recover from his knee bruise/sprain. He was supposed to be back in a couple days after initially going down on the first day of camp.
Like his father and both of his brothers, Perriman grew up with a knee condition called Osgood-Schlatter disease, according to the Orlando Sentinel. Per the paper, it's a common yet uncomfortable knee inflammation among adolescents with varying levels of pain. (Hat tip to Russell Street Report for finding the April article.)
For Perriman, the pain was excruciating. It got so bad that if somebody just grazed his knee cap, the pain could level him.
"I remember at an older age, my knees would just give out just walking in random places like in the mall or something," Perriman said. "And everybody would be like, 'Boy, what's wrong with you?'"
"He definitely had a rough time in high school with that," said brother Brett Perriman Jr. "He was always icing them, always at the doctor, always trying to get his insoles redone because his feet kept growing. It was one of those challenges, but he managed it well for himself."
Perhaps the good news is that his father, Brett Sr., also had the disease and still had a productive 10 years in the NFL.
Read the full story here.
Update: Dr. Bobby Esbrandt, a physical therapy and performance enhancement specialist, tweeted to me this morning to say Perriman's history as a youth doesn't impact his knee today. Good to know! Thank you, Dr. Esbrandt.
Flacco: QBs Getting Lots Of Money, But I've Done That
I wrote Tuesday that Joe Flacco could get a raise this offseason based on the fact that he'll be renegotiating his contract and overall NFL quarterbacks' salaries are rising.
Flacco received an NFL record $120 million contract in 2013, but he's certainly noticed that the quarterback market has increased even more in just two years. San Diego's Philip Rivers was the sixth quarterback to pass Flacco's $20.1 million annual average.
While Flacco noticed the increase, that doesn't mean he's salivating over it.
"I don't know if I relate it to me, but you definitely pay attention to it," Flacco told reporters Wednesday, including Meoli. "You see, man, guys are getting a lot of money. But I've already done that. It's not that big of a deal. As far as it relates to me, I didn't really think too much about it."