First let me say that I am just so happy that football is back...now on to the article.
From what I could see last night, determining who the Ravens starting quarterback will be didn't get any easier.
The incumbent, Kyle Boller, started out strong going 5-6 for 56 yards on his first possession. The incomplete pass was in and out of his receivers' hands and not Bollers' fault at all.
The next possession was more vintage Boller. Going 3-4 for 27 yards, and then being sacked by former Raven Adalius Thomas and fumbling the ball which was recovered by the Patriots. On his third possession he went 3-5 for 19 yards.
Possession number four were two hand-offs to McClain which resulted in a TD. On his fifth and final possession, which was all of one play, Boller was picked off by Crable...more vintage Boller.
I will say this though, his intended receiver Bergen looked like he ran the wrong route. Bergen is a rookie trying to make the team and at least to me it looked like a little mis-communication on the play.
Boller finished his night going 11/15 for a 102 yards passing an INT and a fumble.
Next up was Troy Smith. I believe the starting job is his to lose, I don't have evidence of this, it's just a feeling I have. On his first possession he went 1-3 passing for 30 yards and ran for 3 yards. His second possession came with .04 in the first half so he took a knee to run the clock out.
Smith's third possession he went 2-3 for 17 yards. His next possession, he passed for 9 yards while going 1-2. On his fifth and final possession Smith went 1-3 for 18 yards and rushed for four yards. Finishing his night 5/12 with 74 yards passing and 7 yards rushing.
Making his NFL debut last night, Joe Flacco came in next and did not impress. The future of the Ravens threw an incomplete pass, which was almost picked off, on his first snap and then fumbled on his second.
I'm not going to break him down by possessions, suffice it to say he went 0-3 and got sacked twice. The two sacks occurred when the pocket collapsed on him very quickly and there was no where for him to go. At least he didn't try to create something and cause another turnover.
The fumble was also caused by the lack of experience on both his part and the offensive line letting the man by. Woods came from Flacco's blindside and knocked the ball loose. If the O-line had picked him up this wouldn't have happened.
Obviously I'm not ready to write him off yet. This was his first NFL action. I'm sure he was nervous and he was playing with other third stringers.
So what I took away from the game was there was really no separation between Boller and Smith. I'm waiting to see what the three of them can do against the Vikings next weekend. Smith will probably start, then Boller and Flacco will get snaps.
I'm ok with Boller and Smith battling for the first two spots and having Flacco be third string, at the beginning of the season. As Ravens fans we've seen what can happen when they throw a rookie out there to try to run the offense. Boller has never become what Brian Billick thought he saw in him. I have always maintained that it was due in large part to him being rushed into the starting role.
I feel like Flacco may have the tools but he needs to ride the bench this season and learn from Boller and or Smith.
Boller needs to prove himself, as this is his final contract year, and I doubt he will be with the Ravens next season. If he wants to catch on, with another team, he has got to learn to stop panicking and making bad decisions and become more consistent. I think he made a lot of improvements having Steve McNair to learn from. McNair is gone now and Boller needs to take the next step on his own.
As I said earlier, I think Smith has the starting gig unless Boller can wrestle it away from him.
I like Smith. He gives us more mobility than either Boller or Flacco. It seems like that may fit into Cam Cameron's scheme a little better.