Throughout the night, I heard Ravens fans in the stands reacting to the Michael Vick-to-the-Eagles news. It trickled throughout the 140 section and around the stadium, prompting a mixed response when the big screen showed the AP lead on the story.
And I found it to be poetic in two ways. One, all of the talk that took place just a week prior about Vick possibly coming to the Ravens likely won’t create an outcry of dismay among Ravens fans.
And two, the man Vick was slated to replace was busy looking good against Washington.
Scratch that. Troy Smith looked great.
14-of-30, 200 yards, a touchdown pass, good movement out of the pocket, and only two bad throws by my count. Let us not forget that, but for a severe illness that caused Smith to miss most of the 2008 preseason, he would very well be the starter. Prior to 2008, Smith has a 1-1 record as a starter, and no interceptions.
Now, I’m not going to push buttons and say that Joe Flacco looked bad last night, because he didn’t. The offense moved the ball well, and while they came up short on two possessions, there were no turnovers, very few instances of indecision on Flacco’s part, and no indicators of glaring weakness on the offensive line.
But Smith made an interesting case to be more than a Wildcat quarterback. I always believed that his greatest hindrance from being a starter was being too short to see over the offensive line. But it didn’t appear to be an issue last night, as he moved out of the pocket only when plays broke down.
Granted, the Washington offense could not score, so the snaps were relatively stress-free for Smith, but for what he needed to do, he did it extremely well.
I was one of those guys who thought Vick-to-the-Ravens wouldn’t be such a bad idea, mostly in the recognition of Smith’s mastery of specialty packages on offense. But after seeing Smith in the first preseason game, I’m willing to admit that we have exactly what Michael Vick would’ve brought to the club already in house.
And Smith might just have enough to make Flacco lose a little of his cool in the weeks to come.