New York Giants' wide receiver Steve Smith answered some questions from me via e-mail. Here is our conversation.
Big Blue View: You have been asked about Hakeem Nicks and Ramses Barden a bunch of different ways lately. Let me try to put a different spin on it. Can you explain what kind of adjustment a receiver has to make coming from college to the pros, and why does it seem like it takes many receivers a while to become productive at the NFL level?
Steve Smith: Well it's a job now, which a lot of people don't understand it. There's no more showing up late, because now you'll get fined for it. You have a lot more independence but it's a lot of responsibility. Playing four pre-season games, 16 regular-season games, and four playoff games is real tough on a players' body. That's where stretching and taking care of your body is very important.
BBV: You run some terrific, precise pass routes. What goes into developing that kind of ability? Are there certain things you watch for in terms of 'setting up' a defensive back?
SS: I think it's a little bit of natural given ability and paying attention to the details, like keeping your head straight so you don't tip off the DB. You need to be deceptive and be on the same page with your quarterback. You have to be creative getting off of the line, too.
|Smith celebrates after the Giants won the Super Bowl in his rookie season.|
BBV: Fairly or unfairly, I think the perception is that you are a 'possession' receiver and not a stretch the field, deep threat. Does that bother you? Is it really just a function of the way you have been utilized?
SS: I believe that's how I've been utilized here. I know I have the ability to stretch the field and can be a big time playmaker, but when you have Plaxico and Amani, they were choosing to use me in the role they did. I mean I did run a 4.37 at the combine!
BBV: In your mind, who are the best 5 receivers in the league? Why?
SS: Randy Moss, T.O., Larry Fitzgerald, Steve Smith (Panthers), and Andre Johnson. They all have the ability to take over a game and change the dynamic with one big play.
BBV: You played in college at USC. You are playing professionally in New York. Other than the weather, what is the biggest difference in atmosphere between the two coasts?
SS: The hustle and bustle of New York City compared to the relaxed, cool, calm demeanor out west. I also don't like the roads out here in NY.
BBV: The 2008 season ended in disappointing fashion for the Giants -- earlier than a lot of people thought it would. Is that a motivating factor heading into 2009?
SS: Yeah, it definitely is. No one was happy with how the season ended and I think everyone has a little bit of an extra bounce in their step getting ready for this season.
BBV: There is so much talk among fans and columnists about the wind at Giants Stadium affecting the passing game late in the season. Is there something a receiver can do/needs to do to help a quarterback playing in those kinds of conditions?
SS: I definitely see that. It's just that much more important to be on the same page with your QB and know how to adjust.You just have to be aware of the conditions.
BBV: As a kid growing up, your favorite NFL player of all time? Why?
SS: Jerry Rice. He is relentless and just a great competitor who loves to win. He inspired me a great deal.
FINAL THOUGHTS: First, I have to thank Steve for taking the time to answer my questions. It would really help the Giants this season if Smith continues his ascension toward the upper echelon of NFL receivers. He is a dependable target for Eli who catches everything, and can always be found for a key third-down conversion. It would be a great thing if the Giants could use that 4.37 speed Smith referenced and get some big plays out of him.
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