And perhaps because of that sentiment, Smith shrugged off that expectation.
"I'm making strides," he said with a smile after Tuesday's practice at the team's training facility in Owings Mills. "I'm still a young player, but I'm gearing towards that."
There may be some within the organization who are not as patient. When the franchise used the 27th overall pick in the 2011
But a high left ankle sprain while covering the opening kickoff in the season opener against the
Injury has been a factor this preseason, too, as Smith has battled back issues that haven't been too serious, but have done just enough to take him away from the practice field at times. That has played into Williams remaining a starter and Smith wondering about his recent spate of ailments.
"It feels like I've run into a stroke of bad luck," he said. "But it's nothing where it's affecting my play. The team won't put me out there unless I'm ready to play. It's nagging little things, but nothing I haven't dealt with before."
That wasn’t the case Friday night when the
Smith, who turned back to Stafford about a half-second before Johnson caught the ball, put the blame squarely on himself.
"I never saw the ball, but you can't play him like that because of how big he is," he said. "I never played against a guy that big. So playing on top of him was a bad idea. And when I looked back for the ball, he had already jumped and got it. It was good positioning, but for me, that's not OK. I have to make that play, and for me to be in that position, I really feel like I should've made that play. Looking back on it, I just feel like it was bad technique."
Smith is expected to see plenty of playing time Thursday night when the