The Other Steve Smith Arrives

AP Photo - Mike Groll

There are a lot of ways to tell when a player knows he has taken his game to the next level. The coaches start to call you by your first name, not your last name or number.

For a receiver, you know you've elevated your game when the ball starts coming your way more often – and you continue to catch it.

For Giants receiver Steve Smith, who led the NFC with 107 catches, he knew he had dramatically improved his game when "I got a text message from Larry Fitzgerald during the season telling me he wanted to work out with me during the offseason."

That's like Sports Illustrated's Gary Smith asking a young sports writer, "Can you edit my story before I submit it?"

In just three seasons, Smith has gone from catching 8 passes as a rookie in 2007 to 57 passes in 2008 … to 107 last season. At that pace, Smith should catch 157 passes this year.

"Last year felt like high school all over again," he said. "Looking at the stats thinking, ‘Wow, I did that!' But you can't get all caught up in that or your game will suffer.

"Doing it one year is great, but this league is all about consistency. Steve (Smith of Carolina) has done that. When I can play at a high level for a number of years like him, then I will feel good."

The Giants feel really good about where Smith's game is headed.

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