<
>

Steve Smith can't lose his cool like that in the regular season

Steve Smith took a playful bow after he was ejected during Saturday's 31-13 preseason loss to the Washington Redskins. The Baltimore Ravens wide receiver ended the night by watching the rest of the game with his family at one of the stadium suites.

It was entertaining because it was a meaningless game. But, in light of the NFL's emphasis on fighting, it's a reminder that Smith needs to keep his cool when the games count in 13 days because the Ravens can't afford to lose their one dependable receiver.

Smith is the only Ravens' receiver who can consistently get open, break tackles and make plays. His 63-yard touchdown on the opening drive -- turning an intermediate pass into a big-play score -- was the Ravens' best offensive highlight of the preseason.

The big question entering the training camp was who would be the other receiver to step up, and there has been no answer after three preseason games.

Breshad Perriman, the team's first-round pick, hasn't practiced in over a month (July 30, to be exact). Kamar Aiken, the default starter next to Smith, has 42 yards receiving on three catches. Marlon Brown, the No. 3 receiver, has two receptions for 36 yards.

The other options are unreliable. Michael Campanaro has shown flashes but he has struggled to stay healthy. He has missed two preseason games after catching a 45-yard touchdown in the preseason opener. Darren Waller and Jeremy Butler are unpolished and inconsistent.

At the age of 36, Smith is going to be counted on more this year than he was in 2014, when he caught 30 more passes than any other Ravens player. There is no Torrey Smith to stretch the field or Owen Daniels to catch a clutch third down pass.

Smith is an emotional player, and he feeds off that as well as his teammates. Given that this is his final season, Smith will play with more of an edge, if that's even possible.

What Smith can't do is put his team in a bad position. Smith is a smart player and understands his role on the team. If he loses his temper again like he did on Saturday, the Ravens are the ones who end up losing a lot more.