Thursday, December 19, 2013

Patriots' defensive backs wary of speedy Torrey Smith


New England Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib was asked Thursday about Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith's speed. According to Talib, few words -- or no words -- are needed.

"Man, you know that," Talib told reporters, via "We don’t even have to talk about that. You know how fast he is. We all know how fast he is."

Smith is one of the NFL's elite burners, though Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco hasn't connected with Smith nearly as much as he would have liked to this season.

The speedster as seen the 17th-most targets in all of the NFL (122) but has hauled in just 59 of them, tied for 41st. Much of that has to do with the fact that Baltimore is more apt to take downfield shots at Smith than it is to hit him on short routes.

Still, when Smith gets it, he makes it count.

He's averaging 17.5 yards a reception, the fifth-highest rate in the league, and has caught 19 passes of 20 yards or more and four touchdowns.

Flacco likes to chuck it with Smith lined up across from Jacoby Jones, another extremely fast perimeter weapon. New England also has an eye on Marlon Brown, who defensive back Devin McCourty noted Thursday as a "very productive" third piece to a group that lost Anquan Boldin last year.

". . . and I think the biggest thing for them is they have to be fully confident with tight end [Dennis] Pitta being back," McCourty said. "He’s a good player for them.

"He’s played well against us in the past and if you put him in there on third down and you put two deep guys and a good slot receiver, you have a full core group of guys."

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