The Ravens' first preseason game just got a little more interesting. Kyle Boller has been announced as the starting QB.
Boller and second-year QB Troy Smith have battled it out thus far in camp, and reports are that neither have exactly established a firm grasp on the starting job. Meanwhile, first-round draft pick Joe Flacco has demonstrated poise and polish that have put Boller and Smith to shame.
However, chances are the Ravens won't repeat the same mistake twice, and name Flacco the starting QB when the regular season begins. They did the same thing with Kyle Boller in his rookie season and some may say that Boller never recovered from the shock of being thrown to the proverbial wolves.
Troy Smith, who is a former Heisman Award winner when he played at Ohio State, is the hands-on favorite to win the starting job, only because Boller has played himself out of the starting job and Flacco will likely carry a clipboard during most of, if not all of, his rookie year.
Smith played well in limited time last year, and looked night and day better than Boller, despite not exactly lighting up the scoreboard. However, his poise in the pocket and smooth delivery when throwing the ball impressed the organization. He can also move very well out of the pocket and word is offensive coordinator Cam Cameron has been designing plays this offseason to take advantage of Smith's mobility.
Boller being named the starting QB of the first preseason game is probably more of a strategy than anything else. Rather than toss a relatively inexperienced Smith out there against the Patriots first team defense, Boller will be asked to jump on a live grenade. Plus, he played one of his best career games last year versus the Patriots. So at least there's that.
In 2008, Boller will likely be taking his farewell tour, and I am sure that stadiums across America will be packed to see the living legend one last time as a Raven. Unless Boller grows a huge birthmark on the side of his face and starts playing like Drew Brees, Cameron's former success story, Boller will be playing football in either a different uniform, or a different country, in 2009. It's likely that as the preseason progresses, Troy Smith will be given more and more snaps with the first team. Hell, maybe even Flacco will get a start too.
But starting Boller in the first preseason game means little other than using him as a human shield for Smith and Flacco.
Good luck Kyle. I'll always be rooting for you while wearing this shirt (it's made for men too).