Wide receiver Anquan Boldin is in San Francisco and tight end Dennis Pitta will miss the entire season, which leaves wide receiver Torrey Smith as the team’s top returning pass catcher after running back Ray Rice.
Either one of those losses would lead to calls for Smith to step up his production in the 2013 season, but the double whammy leaves an even brighter spotlight on him heading into the season. Smith knows that he and others need to step up, but he says he isn’t feeling any more pressure to do so than he would if all hands were on deck.
“No, I never feel pressure at all,” Smith said, via Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun. “My job doesn’t change. Obviously, I expect more out of myself performance-wise whether they were there or not. It’s tough to lose Anquan. He was the leader of our group. Pitta, it’s an unfortunate injury. We are going to miss him out there. We have a next man up mentality. I think we have some guys who are ready.”
Smith’s job may not be changing in the larger sense as he’s still an NFL wide receiver, but it’s hard to imagine his role is going to be the same as it was last season. Smith is the team’s No. 1 receiver now and that means he’ll have to take on a wider variety of routes and responsibilities than he filled when he was a little lower down in the pecking order. That doesn’t mean he should be feeling more pressure than he is, but Smith’s going to be a big part of keeping the offense from going off track in 2013.