There isn’t much familiarity between the Buccaneers and Ravens. The teams only meet once every four years and the Tampa Bay-Baltimore Super Bowl has yet to materialize. There is, however, one familiar face on the visitor’s sideline.
From 2002-2013 the Buccaneers faced five-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Steve Smith twice a year during his time as a Carolina Panther.
“It’s probably valuable,” said Ravens head coach John Harbaugh of Smith’s experience against the Bucs. “It’s a different team obviously with a different scheme, system and those kinds of things. They’ve made a lot of changes personnel-wise. Steve and I have talked and any insight that you can gain when you’re playing outside of your division and conference is helpful. He’s had a lot of experience against the NFC South so there’s a little bit of a plus there. I don’t think anything overwhelming, but it’s good conversation.”
After 13 seasons in Charlotte, the former Utah Ute became the franchises’ all-time leader in touchdowns (69), receptions (800), and receiving yards (11,785). The Buccaneers can attest to his greatness. In 22 career games against them, he’s caught 98 passes for 1,404 yards and six touchdowns.
Ronde Barber, in particular, had great respect for the speedy receiver. On Tuesday, Lavonte David shared a story about the Buccaneers’ all-time great warning his teammates about the Panthers superstar.
“I do remember my rookie year , Leonard [Johnson] was getting into it with Steve Smith,” David recalled. “Ronde pulled [Johnson] to the side and said, ‘Hey, you have to chill out, he’ll eat you alive.’ ”
The 35-year old has recorded 30 receptions this season and is fourth in the league in receiving yards, with 463. Facing his former team last week in Carolina, Smith had seven receptions for 139 yards and two touchdowns.
“He’s a really good football player and has a lot left in his tank,” Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco said of his new target. “The fact that he’s able to go out there and bring that intensity and skills to this team each week has helped us a lot. It really opens some things up. He’s been doing a great job of getting open and catching the football. It’s freed some other people up over the middle, too.”
David’s already faced Smith four times and he knows the 14-year veteran has not slowed down.
“He’s a competitor,” David said. “We know what he’s going to bring to the table and we have to be ready for it.”
The Buccaneer that may line up opposite Smith the most on Sunday is Jonathan Banks. The second-year corner is a decade younger than Smith and he remembers watching him as a kid before taking the field against him last year as a rookie.
“Steve’s a great receiver,” Banks said. “He’s one of those guys I grew up watching and I got to play him last year. He was everything I expected. He’s a feisty guy. You have to come ready to play football.”
Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for PewterReport.com. Since 2014, he's handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders.
Contact him at: [email protected]
Glad Smith took it to the Panthers. They deserved that for mistreating him. We should be covering Smith with our fastest; quickest DB. Here is where we need Reavis!
Maybe Barron will launch him out of bounds again.
“The Buccaneer that may line up opposite Smith the most on Sunday is Jonathan Banks.” I’m not sure what the source of this statement is so it could be true, but I sure hope it isn’t. Is Banks considered better than our big money FA Pro Bowler Verner because S. Smith is definitely their best WR. Banks is a taller CB which doesn’t match well with a shorter WR like Smith who can change direction more easily. Also, Smith might just be the most instinctive WR in the league and instincts are one of the things Banks doesn’t have going for him, the other being speed. I know T. Smith is fast, but he and Flacco seem to have lost their chemistry on the deep ball so I wouldn’t worry as much about him.
Hopefully Lovie remembers this game. Although he probably blamed it on the offense turning the ball over that one time.
It’s all about the pass rush. Go Bucs!
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