New Receivers Coach Believes Smith Will Thrive in 49ers Offense

Niners will look for ways to get the ball in Smith's hands on both short and deep routes

When the 49ers acquired wide receiver Torrey Smith before the 2014 season, the former Ravens wide receiver was billed as one of the key missing ingredients to a San Francisco offense.

Smith was a true, deep-threat receiver, capable of stretching defenses, something the 49ers hadn’t had in quite a while.

In his first season in San Francisco, however, the combination of a shaky offensive line, rotating quarterbacks and poor game plans led to Smith catching just 33 passes. When he did have the ball in his hands, he was dangerous, however, averaging a career-best 20.1 yards per catch.

But now that Smith will be playing in the new spread offense of head coach Chip Kelly, Smith won’t be just a deep threat. The new 49ers coaching staff says it wants to find ways to get him the ball and let him be a playmaker.

Niners wide receivers coach Bob Bicknell – who coached under Kelly at Philadelphia previously -- said recently that Smith may be well suited to thrive in Kelly’s scheme, which often features short, quick routes.

“He’s a top-level pro,” said Bicknell. “He does everything the way you want it done in terms of preparing and all that. … I think there’s a lot of things we can do with Torrey that’s not just as a deep-ball threat.

“Sometimes when you have that, you want to use that, but there’s a lot of other things he can do. I can’t wait to watch him play in this offense. We’ve had some success in the past with that type of guy.”

Smith has been positive about learning a new scheme since Kelly’s arrival, and he says he’s ready to line up on the left, the right or in the slot – anywhere he can be effective.

“I’m just going to continue to work and try to make plays and when my team needs me, my number’s called,” he said.

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