The Baltimore Ravens are just over a week away from reporting for training camp and the start of their campaign to repeat as Super Bowl champions.
It’s a feat no NFL team has been able to accomplish since the New England Patriots won consecutive titles in the 2003-2004 seasons.
However, receiver Torrey Smith says the Ravens aren’t feeling the weight of being the hunted this season.
“I feel like there’s no pressure at all,” Smith said in an interview on NFL Network’s Total Access. “Because nobody expected us to be there in the first place, so the defending title thing is kind of overblown.”
After a 9-2 start to last season, the Baltimore Ravens nearly lost hold of the AFC North divisional title down the stretch with losses in four of their final five games. However, they turned the switch back on for the playoffs and earned the trip to the Super Bowl with wins over Indianapolis in the divisional round and road victories over Denver and New England.
Several iconic Ravens are no longer with the team. Ray Lewis retired. Ed Reed has moved on to Houston. Players such as Paul Kruger (Cleveland) and Dannell Ellerbe (Miami) left in free agency and the Ravens traded Anquan Boldin to San Francisco. But Smith believes the Ravens still have potential to return to the Super Bowl this season.
“I think we have the potential to be better than we were last year,” Smith said. “We’ve got trust in the guy up top (general manager Ozzie Newsome). All the young guys we’ve been developing and working hard over the last few years, it’s our time to go out there and do it. We just have to go work. Nothing is going to be given to us. We understand that and we have a lot to prove come the 25th.”