Coach Harbaugh today put an end to the QB suspense – for this week, at least – naming Kyle Boller the starter for the first preseason game, Thursday in New England. Harbaugh said that the move was “more a nod to experience and seniority,” than anything Boller has shown thus far in practice, that led to the announcement. Boller will play most of the first half, with Troy Smith and Joe Flacco splitting whatever time is left.
Don’t read too much into this. Even though Boller will be getting more reps with the first stringers than either of the other two QBs (zero), it still won’t be many, as the rest of the offensive starters will probably play no more than 1-2 series. Based on reports out of camp so far, none of the three quarterbacks has put any distance between himself and the other two. All three have had their moments where they were effective, but also struggled at times. This is less frustrating with Smith and Flacco, who have 2 and 0 professional starts under their belts, respectively, than it is for Boller, who has started 42 NFL games. The fact that Kyle has played no better than a rookie and a 2nd-year munchkin signal-caller only goes to solidify what we all already know about him – that he is an effective backup, no more. That Smith is having trouble seizing the starting job is troubling in it’s own right, as is the fact that Flacco (all 6’6″ of him) had a ball batted down at the line today, and should have had another.
I read a funny (sad?) story today about Kyle on one of the Sun’s blogs. From Don Markus:
“An aside for those Ravens fans who think that Boller can’t hit the broad side of a barn. At one point in the practice, Boller threw a 30-yard pass directed at a barn adjacent to the field. He missed, leading one of my Sun colleagues to say, ‘And the barn was open.’”
What the hell is Kyle doing throwing at barns in public anyway? He is just asking for abuse when he inevitably misses…
Anyway, as far as the game goes, the Ravens will probably also be without starting RB Willis McGahee, so Ravens fans who have only heard through the grapevine how impressive rookie Ray Rice has been so far will finally get a chance to see him. I, for one, am more excited for that than I am to watch Kyle playing “kick the can” with the pigskin. Also, I’m interested for the Ravens first defensive series against the Patriots since last year’s final-minute meltdown. Will we see any leftover hard feelings? I’ll be watching Bart Scott very closely…
photo credit: Baltimore Sun