Smith Running Routes as Receiver

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On one of the final drills of today's OTAs, the Ravens faced fourth-and-8 at midfield, and backup quarterback Troy Smith joined a four-receiver set.

Joe Flacco took the snap and dropped back to throw a perfectly-timed pass to Smith before the makeshift receiver even turned to the ball as he neared the sideline.

Smith snatched the reception and arguably picked up the first down. At least, it would have drawn a measurement.

Harbaugh could only smile when he walked off the field.

The Ravens have had previous camps with easy-to-decipher designations. There was "mandatory veteran camp," and there were two "passing camps." Not too hard to figure out what they were all about. But what of this week's "expanded role camp?"

When Smith cut across the middle of the field Tuesday to haul in a pinpoint 20-yard bullet from Flacco early in practice, those in attendance understood.

"When they put you in a situation to get a chance to do something different and 'expand your role,' you have to step up and rise to the occasion," Smith said. "Today was very competitive, and I was just trying to get some points for the offense. A couple of the quarterbacks made some great throws."

Lately, the Ravens have been working on cultivating everybody's role within both the offense and defense.

Last week, there was a goal line package that included linebacker Jarret Johnson and defensive tackles Kelly Gregg and Justin Bannan all in on offense at the same time. Tuesday, converted tight end Edgar Jones switched back over to the other side of the ball for a few plays at outside linebacker/defensive end.

And then there was Smith, taking advantage of the absence of wideouts Derrick Mason, Mark ClaytonDemetrius Williams and Kelley Washington to make a different kind of play in the passing game.

As with the 2008 campaign, Smith remains as Baltimore's first alternate under center, while the team continues experimenting with other ways to get him involved in the offense.

"Troy looked good, made a nice catch over the middle, didn't he?" head coach John Harbaugh asked after practice. "Without making it a big huge story, because it's June, I'm quite sure that Troy will be lined up in different places this year. We've got the 'Suggs Package,' so to speak, and he's a part of that. He can split out and play receiver, he can play running back.

"But, that's not just Troy. There are defensive guys moving to offense. We've had a goal-line period already this year where we had four defensive guys lined up in that formation. We definitely want to do as much as we can with our guys."

In the past, Smith has shied away from suggestions that he could be anything but a quarterback. A former Heisman Trophy winner out of Ohio State, Smith believes there is still a starting spot for him with some team.

Even so, he is willing to do anything he can to help the Ravens.

"I'm not opposed to it, but I didn't get here catching balls. I'm a quarterback. That's what I do," Smith stated. "When you're blessed to do some certain things, the power of the pen and pad takes over. I've expanded my role as a quarterback, first and foremost."

Last year, Smith completed 3 of 4 passes for 82 yards and a touchdown, while also running 9 times for 24 yards. He added another dimension to the Ravens that kept the opposition on its toes.

Still, Harbaugh agreed with Smith that he can fully helm an offense.

"He has proven that time and time again in college, and through the end of the season two years ago and through the preseason before he got sick last year, he's only gotten better," noted Harbaugh. "He's become, I think, an NFL-caliber, starting-caliber thrower right now.

"We think he's become that, but that doesn't mean we're going to limit him."

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