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Torrey Smith Ready For Challenge Ahead


Torrey Smith has heard the questions and criticism.

The Ravens have a young group of unproven wideouts, and Smith has been asked time and time again whether he thinks the wide receiving corps can step up after the departure of veteran Anquan Boldin.

Reporters have speculated that the Ravens need to add a veteran receiver to the mix, but Smith expressed confidence that the players already on the roster are up to task.

"They drafted us and developed us for a reason, for this time now, to go out there and get it done," Smith said after last week's Organized Team Activities (OTAs). "We take it as kind of a challenge to keep this group together and make it so Coach [John] Harbaugh and Mr. [Ozzie] Newsome and everyone feels comfortable with us as the guys."

Tandon Doss, David Reed, LaQuan Williams, Deonte Thompson and Tommy Streeter all came into the NFL with the Ravens, some as draft picks and others as undrafted free agents. They've mostly watched from the sidelines over the last few seasons, stuck behind Boldin on the depth chart.

But now they have an opportunity to establish themselves and break out in the offense. The competition as receiver is wide open, and the Ravens are looking for the best option to join Smith or Jacoby Jones in the starting lineup.

"I look at it as a challenge for us," Smith said. "We all understand the offense. We've all watched Anquan. We've all played ourselves, and it's on us to go out there and make it happen."

Smith is the clear leader of the group.  While the other receivers want to carve out a role in the offense, he's looking to elevate his game to the next level.

Heading into his third year, the former second-round pick is set to take over the No. 1 receiving spot and has his eyes on his first 1,000-yard season. He's developed his game from a speedy downfield threat when he first came into the NFL, to a complete receiver who can run every route.

Smith has shined during the offseason practices, and continues adding layers to his game.

"I feel like I'm way farther along now than at the end of the season, which is what it's all about," Smith said. "You want to see progress and continue to grow and continue to get better. And I think I'm looking like how I want to look, getting there."

He's also becoming a dependable offensive leader along with Joe Flacco and Ray Rice. Smith has the respect of his peers in the locker room, and he doesn't have any plans to change his approach going into the season.

"I just try to lead by example," Smith said. "Even veteran guys, they've respected me since I've been here, so I don't want to try to go out there and be like Major Payne, the drill sergeant guy. I just go out there and be myself; that's leading by example and trying to do the right things.

"Leadership-wise, I feel like I do it naturally, so I don't feel like I need to go out there and do anything special."

Harbaugh has confidence in Smith's leadership ability after seeing him at work the last two years. 

"We have a lot of leaders on this team, nobody less than Torrey Smith," Harbaugh said. "Torrey's a great leader. He's been a leader in his family, high school. He was a leader the first day he got here in a lot of ways. He's a guy that we think a lot of."

Becoming a greater leader and more polished receiver are part of the progression for Smith. The 24-year- old receiver has already made significant strides in his young career, and he has expectations to keep that up during the season. 

"I still have a long way to go, and it's about doing the right thing all the time," he said.

That commitment to success has given the Ravens big expectations for Smith heading into Year 3.

"Torrey is a guy that is only going to get better, because he works hard at it," Harbaugh said. "He's not a guy who spends any time thinking about anything other than what he can do today to be the best he can be. That's what makes him so good."

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