Former Carolina Panthers and Baltimore Ravens WR Steve Smith Sr. is going the media circuit as he starts his retirement and he’s been singing praise for the New England Patriots. Smith almost signed with the Patriots in 2014, but the Ravens made sure that he didn’t leave his visit in Baltimore.
Smith’s latest praise comes for the Patriots defensive preparation.
“I hate to admit it,” Smith says on ESPN’s Mike and Mike, “but the New England Patriots staff seems to have it all together, scouting department, they know what you’re doing. Nothing is more defeating to a wide receiver, is when you are lined up and the corners and the linebackers are saying, ‘watch the dagger route, watch the dagger route.’ And you’re going- you remember Little Giants? ‘Dagger? Well, I’m the dagger!’
“You are like, ‘Man they know the plays!’ So you’re running the route and you’re going, ‘Joe, you better not throw this ball. You better not throw this ball.’”
Smith is referring to the quote in Little Giants where Johnny “Viper” Vennaro says, "Pitch to Johnny? You can’t pitch to Johnny. I’m Johnny!”
Smith played five regular season games and two postseason games against the Patriots, collecting 24 receptions for 396 yards and 3 touchdowns. He knows what it’s like to get crushed by a Patriots defender in the open field.
“When that happens [the Patriots know your route],” Smith added, “man, you just gotta finesse it and you got to pray, or hope that [the safety] is not there in the middle. Bam. He was there!”
Hopefully the Patriots can remain one step ahead of their opponents throughout the postseason.