BALTIMORE – The post-game joy in the Ravens’ locker room Sunday was tempered by the fact that Steve Smith wasn’t part of the celebration. Smith was already gone, coming to terms with his season-ending Achilles injury that will mean either the end of his career, or a long road back to the field.
Here are five immediate ramifications of Smith’s injury:
1. Tuesday’s trade deadline could become more significant for the Ravens.
Could the Ravens make a deal for a receiver? That possibility should at least be considered, even if it’s not for a big name. How quickly things change. Up until Sunday, the Ravens were rebuffing trade offers from other teams interested in Smith.
Now the Ravens need help at receiver. After Smith injured his back earlier this season, the Ravens traded for wide receiver Chris Givens. We’ll see if Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome acts quickly again.
2. The bye week will be spent making major offensive adjustments.
Losing Smith presents a significant challenge for the coaching staff, particularly offensive coordinator Marc Trestman. Many of the Ravens’ passing plays involved Smith as the primary target. Without him, Trestman will have to be creative, finding more go-to plays that can be effective for other players.
3. The Ravens will find out more about their other receivers.
Not just wide receivers like Kamar Aiken and Givens, but their tight end group of Crockett Gillmore, Nick Boyle, and Maxx Williams. With Smith out of the picture, opponents can turn even more of their attention toward the Ravens’ other receivers. Who will respond, and who will fade?
4. Joe Flacco has even less margin for error.
Flacco was superb Sunday against the Chargers (25 of 37, 319 yards, one TD, 103.3 passer rating). Without Smith, Flacco may have to play at that level for the Ravens to win.
5. The second half of the season becomes more daunting for the Ravens’ offense.
Think about it. When training camp began, the Ravens expected their top two receivers to be Smith and first-round pick Breshad Perriman. Smith won’t play another snap. Perriman (knee injury) has yet to play a snap. Not what the Ravens had in mind.
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