Baltimore’s rookie QB Joe Flacco was named starter for the rest of the season, despite the fact that Troy Smith is practicing again. Many thought that when Smith re-emerged, he would challenge Flacco for the starting job.
However, Flacco has thus far led his team to a 2-2 start and has proven himself to be reliable enough to stay first string.
Coach John Harbaugh says that until further notice, Smith will be the third-string quarterback, behind Todd Bouman. After the Indianapolis game, Smith will be able to compete for a chance at second string.
After being diagnosed with his infection on Aug. 21, Smith was cleared for practice on Sept. 24. Because of the infection, Smith lost a significant amount of strength and over 20 pounds, rendering him incapable of performing any starting duties.
On Wednesday, Harbaugh said: “Troy is working full-speed ahead as a healthy quarterback this week, really for the first time, which is exciting and great news for us. He adds to our team. He strengthens us.”
So far this season, Flacco has completed 58.5 percent of his passes (62 of 108) for a total of 603 yards and a touchdown. He has also rushed for a 38-yard touchdown in a win over the Cincinnati Bengals, a play that prompted the phrase “Wacko for Flacco” by his followers.
The rookie has not been without his flaws though, as he has also thrown four interceptions to date. Two of these interceptions came in a tough loss to the Tennessee Titans in Week Five.
Despite his rookie mistakes, the rest of the team still stands firmly behind him, as do many Ravens fans (myself included).
Joe’s favorite target, Derrick Mason, even sung praise of his quarterback. “Joe, the previous week [at Pittsburgh], he made some great plays rolling outside the pocket, and even in the first two weeks.”
The wide receiver even went on to say that sometimes a quarterback hits his mark and sometimes he doesn’t, but that Flacco has hit more then he has missed.
Flacco’s greatest strength seems to be his pocket presence. The rookie out of Delaware has shown great poise and arm strength when given the chance to look down the field.
His weakness has been holding on to the ball too long or not throwing it away. He admits to these faults and has promised to work on them.
For now, it appears the Ravens have found their quarterback of the future. Flacco might want to watch his back though, as Troy Smith waits in the shadows for his chance in the spotlight.