The reassurance that he was 100 percent healthy following an offseason operation on a double hernia didn’t come for Torrey Smith while running a route or going up to catch a pass.
It came while the former University of Maryland standout was playing basketball this offseason, both in his charity game and one hosted by his teammate, Anquan Boldin.
“I played in my basketball game and had like five dunks. I played in Anquan's and had like five dunks,” said Smith who was at Ray Rice Day today at Calvert Hall. “I'm good to go. I'll be doing everything."
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Smith said that he’ll have no restrictions during the Ravens’ various workouts and activities ahead of the late-July start to training camp.
That’s great news for the Ravens who need the speedy wide receiver to improve on his impressive rookie season in which he caught 50 balls for 841 yards and seven touchdowns and then added another touchdown in the Ravens’ AFC championship game loss to the New England Patriots.
“The biggest thing that helped my game is being consistent,” said Smith, a second-round pick in the 2011 draft. “I've got a lot of growing to do. This is going to be my fifth season playing receiver now, so I'm still learning each and every day. For me in order to take the next step, it's just being consistent, making the simple plays and just being consistent in my technique, being consistent catching the ball, everything.
“I'm confident in everything. It's all about technique. Luckily, I got a great receiver coach in coach [Jim Hostler] and to see the progress I was able to make in 20 weeks, I can only imagine what it's going to be like this offseason because I came right out there and I looked better than I did all of last year and I had surgery. So, I'm excited about that. Coach [Hostler] is one of the best. I'm lucky to be able to learn from him."
The Ravens feel that Smith could develop into a No.1 wide receiver, but right now, that spot is occupied by the veteran, Boldin. And behind Smith is a group that includes recently-acquired veteran Jacoby Jones, second-year wide receivers LaQuan Williams (Maryland, Poly) and Tandon Doss, and rookie sixth-round pick Tommy Streeter.
"I think we can do great things,” Smith said. “I think for us, we're all here now working hard. We need to be ready for [quarterback Joe Flacco] and be reliable for Joe. Obviously, it's 50-50 between the offense and defense, but I think the better we do on offense, I think we can go far."
Smith acknowledged that is true more than ever with the possibility that top pass rusher Terrell Suggs could miss most – if not all – of the 2012 after sustaining a partial Achilles tendon tear.
"Obviously you want to do as much as you can,” Smith said. “With Suggs' injury, the Ravens' defense has always been good and [he’s been] a major part of it for the last eight or nine years. We have a saying, ‘Next man up.’ I think everyone else will be ready."