Smith’s in­jury puts spot­light on fel­low UM alum Moore

Pan­thers’ 1st-round draft pick likely to play more with ex-Ravens WR out

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - FRONT PAGE -

On Wed­nes­day, Ravens quar­ter­back Joe Flacco called Tor­rey Smith a “great friend.” He said he’s kept track of the for­mer Ravens wide re­ceiver since his de­par­ture from Bal­ti­more af­ter the 2014 sea­son, from the San Fran­cisco 49ers to the Philadel­phia Ea­gles to, now, the Carolina Pan­thers. But Flacco said he hoped the mem­ory he’d make Sun­day against his old team­mate would be a good one.

Smith is pow­er­less to stop him, or the Ravens. On Fri­day, the first-year Pan­thers re­ceiver was ruled out of to­day’s game be­cause of a knee in­jury that side­lined him at prac­tice all week.

Smith, who didn’t miss any of the 64 games in his Ravens ca­reer, is se­cond among Carolina re­ceivers with 16 re­cep­tions and two touch­downs.

That means more snaps — more pres­sure, too — for fel­low Mary­land alum­nus DJ Moore, the first re­ceiver taken in the 2018 NFL draft.

“It’s his op­por­tu­nity to in­crease, and he’s made plays,” Pan­thers coach Ron Rivera said in a con­fer­ence call with Bal­ti­more-area re­porters last week, be­fore Smith was ruled out.

“So the more and more chances he gets on the field, the bet­ter. A lot of it has to do with just learn­ing. He’s done a great job of learn­ing. It’s just so much vol­ume for these young guys to try to get used to. But he’s done a great job, and ev­ery time he’s on the field, like I said, he makes things hap­pen.”

Af­ter mak­ing just two catches over Carolina’s first three games, Moore has since turned all but three of his 14 tar­gets from quar­ter­back Cam New­ton into re­cep­tions. In his Week 6 re­turn to Prince Ge­orge’s County, he fum­bled twice in a loss to the Wash­ing­ton Red­skins, but none­the­less leads the team in yards per catch (14.7) and ranks third in re­ceiv­ing yards (191).

“Once he catches the ball, he be­comes a def­i­nite threat run­ning it,” Ravens de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Don “Wink” Martin­dale said Thurs­day. “He has a lot of tal­ent. We have to make sure to try to sta­ple him to the ground, be­cause he’s re­ally good af­ter the catch.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.