After two preseason games, the starting quarterback job is still up in the air. The only clear result is that Joe Flacco is not really in contention for the job.
This is actually a good thing. The Ravens need to learn from what happened with Kyle Boller. He was thrown to the wolves his rookie season, and I think it has really hurt his career.
Flacco will be better served standing on the sidelines, learning from Smith and Boller this season. He may be the future of the organization, but unless there are injuries, or we are out of the playoff picture, I don't see him getting much playing time this season.
On to the breakdown:
Troy Smith got the start against the Vikings this weekend and played the entire first half.
On his first possession, Smith only threw one pass, a completion to Bergen for seven yards. This was the first snap of the game. Smith showed some good mobility, evading two defenders before throwing to Bergen.
The rest of the possession was handoffs to Rice and McLain.
Smith did have one rush for 10 yards.
There was nothing spectacular from Smith this possession. However, Smith did lead the team down the field for their only offensive touchdown of the game.
The second possession was basically more of the same. Smith opened the series with an eight-yard completion to Rice.
After two straight handoffs, Smith tried to scramble and was knocked out of bounds.
The next play was a false start against the Ravens. After the penalty was assessed, Smith threw incomplete to Yamon Figurs. The Ravens punted.
Possession No. 3 was again more of the same. On the first play of this drive, Smith scrambled for seven yards.
After two more handoffs, Smith again takes off and rushes for 18 yards.
Another handoff, then sacked for a 12-yard loss.
The next play was an 11-yard completion to Figurs, but this only brought them back to the original line of scrimmage.
Again, the Ravens had to punt.
Smith's final possession was one play and not a good one. Smith's pass to Mark Clayton was a little short. Clayton did manage to get his hand on it, but knocked it up in the air, and into a defenders hands for an interception.
This was not entirely Smith's fault. Yes the pass was a little short, but if the receiver gets his hands on the ball, he should make the play, or at least knock it down away from the defender. I don't think plays like this should go against the QB's stats, but that's an article for another time.
If I saw any signs of Smith separating himself from the pack, it was his mobility and his poise under pressure. He didn't try to create something on busted plays.
One play, he even called an audible that lead to a big gain. I believe it was the play that Rice rushed for 42 yards, but I could be wrong on that.
Smith finished his night going 3-5 for 25 yards, no TDs, and one INT, while rushing for 35 yards.
As the second half opened, Smith was replaced by Kyle Boller.
Just as Smith didn't do much to separate himself, neither did Boller.
However, he did start his night going 8-8, before throwing three-straight incompletions and then an interception on his final play of the night.
Boller's final line: 8-12 for 40 yards, no TDs, and one INT.
Boller still gets flustered when he's under pressure. This doesn't seem like something they can train out of him. After five seasons in the pros, that's not a good thing.
Joe Flacco entered the game with 8:01 left in the fourth quarter.
His first play was a handoff to Ross for a three-yard gain.
On the next play, Flacco was sacked and fumbled the ball. Fortunately, the Ravens recovered.
Flacco's first completion as a pro, a nine-yard gain, came on the following play.
After being sacked again, Flacco completed his next two passes, for six and three yards, respectively.
His next possession began after the two-minute warning. Flacco looked like he was more comfortable in the pro setting running a no-huddle offense.
He opened the drive with two straight completions and a first down, the first one of the second half, other than one from a penalty on the Vikings.
He threw an incomplete pass and then followed that up with three more completions for 19 yards.
After a ball thrown out of bounds, Flacco completed another pass for a 14-yard gain.
Flacco spiked the ball to stop the clock since the Ravens were out of timeouts.
The following play resulted in an interception; however, the play was waived off, due to a penalty on the Vikings.
Flacco's final completion was a 12-yard gain.
After spiking the ball a final time, Flacco ended his night with an incompletion.
His final line: 10-15 for 74 yards, no TDs, and no INTs.
My concern with Flacco right now is that he seems very immobile.
On the first sack in particular, he looked like a statue. Granted, the offensive line broke down and let the man through, but Flacco didn't move.
This may still be due to some nerves, and he may develop into a more mobile quarterback; but right now, this is his downfall.
I'm still not ready to write him off. I'd like to see him play with the starters or at least the second-string guys. Maybe with better protection he would have more success.
After watching this game, I would have to say that Smith still holds the reins, unless Boller can step up and win the job.
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