The Ravens haven't gotten a lot of production from their wide receivers outside of one man – Steve Smith Sr.
One player in Smith's mold, 5-foot-9 Michael Campanaro, hasn't been given much of a chance. But that's about to change – although not at Smith's expense.
Campanaro started to see a little more action Sunday against Cincinnati, catching two passes for 11 yards and running a jet sweep for 8 yards. Heading into Pittsburgh, that should increase.
"Under the duress and chaos of the game, he has made some plays," Offensive Coordinator Marc Trestman said Tuesday. "So he certainly deserves to get more opportunities."
Campanaro says he's inspired watching Smith play in his final season. Now it's his turn to help.
"We can't rely on Steve to do everything," Campanaro said. "Guys got to step up and hold their own.
"The supporting cast, I think guys are just eager to step up. When guys' numbers are called, we've got to make plays. You've got to take advantage when your opportunities come."
Now in his second season, Campanaro mostly has made the most of his chances. Last season, he was targeted by nine passes and caught seven of them for 102 yards and one touchdown. This year, he's snagged three of the four balls that have come his way for 19 yards.
While the Ravens are having troubles stretching the field vertically with speedster first-round pick Breshad Perriman (knee) still sidelined, Campanaro can spread it horizontally. He runs outs and crossing patterns well, and can get open in tight spaces.
Campanaro's problem has been staying healthy. He missed time during Organized Team Activities due to a hamstring injury, then more reps in training camp because of a different soft-tissue issue. Now last year's seventh-round pick out of Wake Forest is finally healthy.
"I hope [I get more action]," Campanaro said. "I do control when my number is called, trying to make plays. I returned punts this week and was happy to be back there trying to make plays."
Campanaro returned two punts for 35 yards, stepping into the role Smith handled in Week 1 in Denver. But don't expect Campanaro to take snaps away from Smith when it comes to receiving.
Yes, quarterback Joe Flacco wants to spread the ball to more weapons, but the Ravens will still give the Smith all the snaps he deserves. Smith's 40 targets rank third in the NFL behind Atlanta's Julio Jones (46) and New England's Julian Edelman (42). He's producing with those targets, racking up the NFL's third-most receiving yards (349).
Trestman chuckled when asked whether the 36-year-old Smith will have a cap on his snaps in an effort to keep him fresh for later.
"He has been very productive in the first three weeks, and we do everything we can during the course of the week to make sure that he gets his rest and he's ready to go," Trestman said.