Steve Smith Sr. may be seeing fewer snaps this season, but not if he has anything to say about it.
According to Pro Football Focus, Smith took 834 snaps last year, the most among Ravens wide receivers. At 35 years old (36 now), only 34 NFL receivers saw more snaps than Smith.
But with the Ravens boasting a deep, talented, young receiving corps, they may want to shuffle the deck more this season. Baltimore has seen impressive practice performances from Kamar Aiken, Marlon Brown, Michael Campanaro, Jeremy Butler, Aldrick Robinson and rookie Darren Waller.
"Steve and I have talked about how many reps he's going to play," Head Coach John Harbaugh said.
"I'm really hoping that we have enough guys who we like who we can roll through there and play all those guys. I think we're deep, and if we turn out to be deep – like we hope we are – then all those guys will play."
At the same time, Harbaugh knows how valuable Smith is, particularly during clutch moments. Harbaugh said "sometimes you get to a game and you kind of need a guy in the end to make a play."
That's what Smith is counting on. He's planning to be indispensable.
The Ravens continued the 2015 training camp with practice at the Under Armour Performance Center.
In his first year, Smith led the Ravens in receptions (79) and receiving yards (1,065). He made big-time plays in big games, including an 80-yard touchdown against the Bengals to kick off last season.
On the Monday before camp opened, Smith told reporters he thought he'd take more snaps this season, and play further into January. On Friday, he said he'd discussed his snap count with Harbaugh.
Through the first two practices, it hasn't seemed that Smith has been dialed back, and he's continued to stand out from his teammates in his position group.
"[Fewer snaps are] something [Harbaugh and I] discussed, but as you see, we're going in there," Smith said. "I think it's going to be hard for both of us to do."
"Because we're both competitive," Smith said with a smile. "And we want to win."
For now, Smith says he isn't approaching training camp practices any differently. He's already been ball spinning after beating Baltimore's defensive backs, and had the catch of the day with a diving, one-handed grab during the first practice.
"I really just consider myself an assessor," Smith said. "I assess that defender that's playing against me. Will he be good enough? And if he's not, we'll find out very soon, he'll get cut, we'll move on [and] bring in another guy. So I'm just there to help the defensive coaches see which guys can cover and which guys can't."