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.