A few days before news broke that wide receiver Torrey Smith would sign with the San Francisco 49ers, Michael Campanaro and the rest of Ravens receivers got a text from Smith letting them know he was leaving.
Smith's departure was the second big change for Baltimore's receiving corps in the span of two weeks, as the team had already parted ways with veteran speedster Jacoby Jones. The loss of Smith and Jones created a void in the passing game, and Campanaro knew right away that he'd have a big opportunity in front of him.
"I think we have a lot of guys who are hungry to go out there and make a name for themselves, and show they can get the job done," Campanaro said. "With Torrey and Jacoby gone, I think that the young guys in our receiver room, we know that we have an opportunity in front of us. I think that's all you can really ask for in this league – an opportunity."
Much can still change between now and training camp – the Ravens said at the start of the offseason that they wanted to add targets through free agency or the draft – but the young receivers already on the roster are first in line for increased roles.
Campanaro, Marlon Brown and Kamar Aiken were used in reserve capacities last year, but they could end up seeing significantly more playing time alongside veteran Steve Smith Sr. in 2015.
"I'm excited," Campanaro said. "I'm just preparing myself to go out there and compete to get that spot."
Not only did the Ravens lose Smith and Jones, but veteran tight end Owen Daniels also left in free agency. Daniels was a reliable pass catcher who worked the middle of the field, and Campanaro has the potential to be that kind of chain mover as a slot receiver.
In addition to the impact Campanaro may have in the passing game, he* *could also be in line for a job as a starting return man now that Jones is gone. The Ravens used Campanaro as a punt returner in some situations last year, and he sees that as an area where he could make an impact.
"That's something I've really been working on," Campanaro said. "I've been working on my speed in the offseason and I want to come into this season to show the coaches that I can take on that responsibility, and help out in special teams."
Campanaro's opportunities were limited during his rookie season. He started the year behind the veterans, and then dealt with a nagging hamstring problem once he did crack the lineup.
The seventh-round pick played in four games, and caught seven passes for 102 yards and a touchdown.
"Your rookie year is definitely your toughest year," Campanaro said. "I think coming into this year, you're not going to be thinking as slow as you were as a rookie. Your head is kind of spinning, but now you're kind of settled in and you can go out and just play your game."