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August 21, 2008

Sellin' of Troy

Ravens coach John Harbaugh made a lot of sense when he explained why he has designated Troy Smith as the starter for Game 3 of the preseason against the St. Louis Rams. Kyle Boller already has a long paper trail and the Ravens have limited time to evaluate Smith, who played only a couple of games last year compared to Kyle's 42 career starts.

The logic is unassailable, but I think there's more to it than that. The Ravens have played the first two preseason games behind a makeshift offensive line that is riddled with injuries. The team talks tough about pulling the O-line back together before the opener against the Cincinnati Bengals just 18 days hence, but who really knows who will be ready to step up when the time comes.

That's why Smith is an even more logical choice, since he has the escapability to survive if the team continues to have serious problems up front after the season begins. He needs to show he can find receivers downfield, something that appeared to be a problem last Saturday night, but Job One is to remain standing long enough to give the offense a puncher's chance.

He'll likely play most of the game on Saturday, and then we should have a better idea one way or the other.

Posted by Peter Schmuck at 8:00 AM | | Comments (37)


Nice to see Kam here. Nice game last night, but we have to stop giving up so many runs.

Early prediction: Ravens 4 - 12, maybe 5 wins if we are lucky. Newsome and Harbaugh are fired in early Jan. I will still be there almost every game cheering them on.

Pete's reply: The over/under on the Ravens was seven wins the last time I looked. That seems generous, but that defense can win a couple.

Wow you all have some lousy QB's on the Ravens roster. Go Skins! Go O's!

Don't care about the Ravens.... Talk baseball.

Pete's reply: If you really have delusions of grandeur, then you should expand your horizons.

I agree, Smith needs as much real game play as possible. As for Kyle Boller, it doesn't matter whether he takes 1 snap or 50 snaps in game play, Kyle will always be as Kyle is. I believe at this point in his career, Kyle will not get any better or any worse. What you see now will always be Kyle's MO.

I don't understand how this fallacy that mobile quarterbacks are a cure to a bad offensive line continues to survive. The best QB to have behind a bad offensive line is one who has a quick release and who has mastered his progressions. QBs who scramble tend to abandon their progressions in the face of pressure, opting instead to tuck the ball when the right decision is to let it go. Look no further than Donovan McNabb who, despite a consistently top tier offensive line, routinely finds himself among the most sacked QBs in the league (and this coming from someone who thinks McNabb is among the league's best).

I have no grudge against a QB who can run; its an exciting dynamic that absolutely adds a wrinkle for a defensive coordinator to consider. However, it is by no means a cure for a bad offensive line. In fact, it's probably just the opposite.

If the Ravens OL is as bad as most expect, the cure comes in the form of max protect packages, a healthy dose of screen plays from various fomations and to a collection of players, and a concerted effort to establish the running game.

If we expect Troy Smith to evade untouched DEs while in the midst of a five-step drop, then this is going to be a looooooooong season.

As long as we win a couple games there is a zero percent chance that Harbaugh gets fired.

give troy smith a chance this is only his 2nd year he only started a couple games watch him do good

I agree with Ak and Jim. I don't care how fast the quarterback can run, if you can't throw the ball down field in the NFL, you are nowhere. Teams jam you and you're done. Boller gives us our only chance to throw the ball down field, at least until Flacco is ready. He isn't a statute in there either and he is tough enough to take the abuse our O-line is likely to allow this year. I'm not saying the guy is great, but arguing for Smith over Boller is like arguing for Andy Mitchell over DCab. DCab isn't great, but he's better than Andy Mitchell. That said, I do think they should give Smith the start Saturday. As long as the Rams play their starters on D, it will confirm that Smith should not be the starter. They would have to go 0-16 for Harbaugh to be fired and even then he might not get blamed.

I think that Ozzie is pretty safe also...

Is escapability a word? This is a serious question.

Pete's reply: Well, unlike BLANGST, I already knew I didn't invent it when I used to in the Troy Smith item.


Wow! I really do not feel like Bioscotti or the Ravens for that matter, as an organization are flaky enough to fire someone after one year! Harbaugh has had success with subpar talent. This is not even his team. Billick could not complain because the Ravens gave him everything he asked for and could not produce. This team is OLD! We may win 4 games this year, but we need to get younger through the draft as soon as possible. Do not pay Ray, let him go off in the sunset, and hopefully Suggs will have a great year and we can trade him too. He is one dimensional and needs too much support to be effective. Our outside LBs are highly overrated. Get some picks and draft some linemen on both sides and a bigtime WR or Cornerback. Flacco will be a bust too. Drafting a QB in Rd 1 is usually a losing proposition 80% of the time. You would have thought we would have known that based on experience. Maybe we can pick up D Anderson when he is on the trade block or a free agent in 3 years. I think Ozzie is overrated too. Phil Savage's Browns are a DB away from being contenders.

Troy gets QB job because of, among other things, he is the most likely to survive. That's definitely a realistic tone.

The other question is how long will Todd Heap and Derrick Mason survive in an offense where every pass will have to come out quick and most likely will be coming to him with LBs swarming for them?

Pete's reply: Also a fair question.

Too early to give up on the season, have patience and faith Ravens fans.

There is a reason why Troy was selected so low in the draft. It really doesn't make any difference who is the QB. Ozzie has had forever to improve this offensive line when is he going to be held accountable? Maybe it's time for Ozzie to step back from the draft and let Erick take over!

I told 'you all' I wasn't the problem , but 'you all' had to listen to Preston. The problem has always been the talent level Ozzie has produced. This O-line is a joke , the poor Q-backs will ducking for cover all Q-back should have to operate under that pressure , gut feeling Ozzie is next.

Trent couldn't throw downfield and he has a ring.

In response to Trent DIlfer not being able to throw downfield, that is a fallacy. Dilfer had a decent arm and could throw the ball downfield. What receivers did he have when he was here? The problem with Smith and throwing downfield is three fold. One, lack of arm strength. Two, he can't see past the taller lineman to see the receiver breaking open. Three, his accuracy is not that good because he is usually on the move. As for those of you that say his "escapability" is a plus, how long do you think it will take for defensive coordinators to stack the box and stop his running? Remember how we used to stop Vick and believe me, Troy Smith is no Vick when it comes to running. Well, maybe Marcus Vick.

Why is everyone enamored with Troy Smith? He is a Michael Vick clone and how many Super Bowls did he win?? If everyone is down on Boller than lets move on to Flack who at least can throw the ball down the field.I went to the Vikings game and I swear Billick is still calling the offensive plays with 5 yard passes.

You are right Jon Dey...but go back to the meat of this...He had an "O" Line to work with and possibly the best "d" ever to get him the bal in scoring situations.

are we really pointing the finger at ozzie?! Fellow Ravens fans-- stop being so spoiled. Most franchises would kill for the talent newsome has drafted. Don't turn into Philly fans. PLEASE

I don't buy all the gloom and doom predictions. This defense is to good for a 4 win season. Injuries not withstanding, the Ravens are an 8 - 8 ball club. The possibility of overachieving exists, and you would think they would be a better team later rather than earlier. As for next years draft, WR, CB, Center/OT.

Thanks Peter.

Finally, someone else is on-board with what I've been arguing here for the last month. The O-line is the key. Which QB gives us the best chance behind, not only an injured line, but a young line still developing.

Smith is definitely the way to go because as you all are admitting, this season and probably the next few are all lost. As another one of you said, you know exactly what you're going to get out of Boller so why not try someone newer and younger and see what happens. Some of the best QBs came out of nowhere because they were given an opportunity (think Brady and more recently, Derek Anderson, Trent Edwards and Shaun Hill)


Pete's reply: Okay, but you don't have to shout.

The Baltimore Ravens fans sure did love Ray Lewis during the superbowl year. The fans went crazy for Jamal Lewis and the O-line during his 2000 yard year. The fans loved McNair during the 13-3 year. The fans worshipped Ozzie for all the great drafts. Kyle Boller a first round pick never took the Ravens to the playoffs, not even close to a SB, but the boller lovers treat this guy like he is Joe Montana, Peyton Manning, or Phil Simms. Phil Savage was about to get fired last year until a few of his picks panned out. The way our fans turn on people who have produced for years but worship the ground Boller walks on who has not even gotten us to the playoffs is despicable.

smith is a backup at his best...boller
is boller..fallco is a minor leaguer
who will not catch up to the speed
and complexity of the pro game....
playing towson is not like playing
the indy colts.
it will be a long season for the ravens
if they win 5 games they will be angelos involved with this

If we hadn't wasted a first round pick on minor league college quarterback Joe Flaccid, we could have had ourselves a first rate offensive lineman.

" Don't care about the Ravens.... Talk baseball. "

"Pete's reply: If you really have delusions of grandeur, then you should expand your horizons. "

Can't do that... I'm a lot like MacPhail. I can only concentrate on one thing at a time.

Ozzie needs to go. He has had years to get a O line. We should have kept Savage and set OZ man down the road. Took Savage 2 years tro get a O Line and what do we do and I Quote the Oz man "wright player at wright price" unquote and it shows hes got to go!!!!!!


#@*+! YOU!!!

I agree with dwight sypolt.

Most second-year QBs who have started one pre-season and two regular season games have won multiple Super Bowls.

He's been given way too many chances!

I sometimes feel like I'm reading "The Emperor's New Clothes". When is somebody in the Ravens hierarchy going to step up and say, "Ozzie is a horrible GM; we need someone who knows what he is doing?"

I know a hush would fall over the assembled masses, but sometimes the truth hurts.

Regarding the desirability of a scrambling QB to fix bad O-lines, I agree with the previous posters about the fact that you still need to be able to pass the ball at the end of it. The Ravens never seemed to have too much trouble with Michael Vick.

I also notice that if you look at Cameron's charger teams he picked Brees ( pocket passer) over Flutie ( mobile QB).

it is funny to read these comments. Truth is, no one, and I mean no one, has a clue how this team will do this year. The preseason has been for the most part a waste since they have played without half their starting lineup. If the Ravens are heatlhy (Heap, McAlister, Rolle, Williams, McGahee), they will do just fine this year. If they are injured like last year, they stand no chance. Prediction, if the Ravens come out and lay one on the Rams this weekend, all the people predicting 4 and 5 wins will suddenly feel a lot different.

As for the mobility issue, there are some good points on this. However, my main concern regarding the pressure and our QBs is thay Boller crumbles under pressure and often turns it over. I have not seen that from Smith yet. He seems to protect the ball well and move around well to avoid the rush. Case in point, making all-pro Jared Allen wiff last week and turning it into a 20 yard gain.

Patience my friends. At least let the season start before you write off this team.

At this point in time, I'd go with Boller as the starter. Take a look at Smith this week and then put Boller in to start the Season. Smith would have to put up at least 21 points to make me think twice about who should start on Opening Day. That's 21 points from the Offense.....not the Defense or Special Teams scores.
I agree with the assessment that scrambling QBs can create as much of a problem by tucking and running, instead of reading all the progressions.
If any true Ravens fan believes we are going to win a Super Bowl this Season, then you are fooling yourself.
That window of opportunity slipped out the window when McNair hit the AARP mailing list, last year. His body gave out and any confidence he had, gave out also.
Let Boller start, hope the O-line gets healthy and better and Clayton and Demetrius Williams can stay healthy.
We'll appreciate McNeal's toughness at FB like we did when Sam Gash was back there and the Running game should be better than it was in 2007.
No need to bash Flacco. He's gonna be the QB for years to come and you'll see that when he gets his chance to play with the starters.
We can gauge how this team is after September. If they can get 2 or 3 wins in the first 4 games, they could actually surprise all of us fans and the rest of the NFL.

Smith isn't starting because he is the best scrambler, he is starting because he is the best all around quarterback. Look at last years games. he looks off safeties better than any of the other qb's, and and has a very strong arm. Get over this he is too short thing because he is not. He is about the same size as Drew Brees. Notice also that he doesn't have any passes ever knocked down and he doesn't fumble or trip over his own feet when dropping back. And redskin fans have their own paper so stay out of our paper. Its bad enough you have that p.o.s. of a stadium in our beautiful state. What you too scared to keep it in DC. Scarred you might get hurt? The Ravens are much closer to the 13-3 record than they are to last years team. Depth in the secondary and at tailback, Hopefully Heap stays healthy and somebody other than Mason steps up. Our D is still great. the question is at tackle. Maybe one day we will finally get a reporter that has something positive to say too.

Pete's reply: I predicted a long time ago that Troy would be the man this year, but I've got to say, how many balls are going to get batted down when you throw five passes in a half?

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About Peter Schmuck
Peter Schmuck wants you to know that, contrary to popular belief, he is more than just a bon vivant, raconteur and collector of blousy flowered shirts. He is a semi-respected journalist who has covered virtually every sport -- except luge, of course – and tackled issues that transcend the mere games people play. If that isn’t enough to qualify him to provide witty, wide-ranging commentary on the sports world ... and the rest of the world, for that matter ... he is an avid reader of history, biography and the classics, as well as a charming blowhard who pops off on both sports and politics on WBAL Radio. That means you can expect a little of everything in The Schmuck Stops Here, but the major focus will be keeping you up to the minute on Baltimore’s major sports teams and themes, whether it’s throwing up the Orioles lineup the minute it’s announced or updating you on the latest sprained ankle in Owings Mills. Oh, and by the way, that’s Mr. Schmuck to you.

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