RAVENS RUMOR MILL: Why Troy Smith should be named starter

Lombardi's Way RAVENS RUMOR MILL: Why Troy Smith should be named starter

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Typically the quarterback who starts preseason game number 3 ends up being the opening day starter.  The Ravens have determined who will start on Saturday against the Rams but they are keeping the choice shrouded in secrecy.  When asked why Head Coach John Harbaugh deadpanned, “Not ready to announce it yet." 

No one asked me but the choice from this corner is rather obvious – Troy Smith.

Why you ask? 

Here’s why… 

  1. The Ravens offensive line is in disarray right now and that might be the understatement of the preseason.  Until the Ravens secure the tackle positions, speed rushers will have their way with the offensive line.  We’ve seen Kyle Boller do the Curly Shuffle many times under pressure.  Troy Smith has a knack of avoiding rushers and making plays with his feet.  He did exactly that when Jared Allen seemingly had him locked in on Saturday night for a sack.  Smith turned that into an 18 yard gain.
  2. Don’t we already know what the Ravens have with Kyle Boller? The team knows that he will shine at times and then throw some head scratcher of a pass that almost always turns into an untimely turnover.  Oh and let’s not forget that Boller hasn’t won a road game since President Bush was re-elected.
  3. Boller is almost certainly gone after 2008.  Wouldn’t a more experienced Troy Smith benefit the team moving forward?  Why waste the snaps on Boller during a season when there’s little hope for a post season berth?
  4. Home field advantage is important in the NFL, particularly the Ravens.  Starting Kyle Boller will quickly deflate the M&T balloon because as sure as we’re all sitting here, Boller will be booed after his first interception essentially neutralizing the 12th man.  The mob will be more willing to give Smith a little latitude.

Lost in the beat down the Vikings offense handed to the Ravens defense for a significant portion of Saturday night’s game was the performance of Derrick Martin.  Martin has played well throughout camp and has played with a sense of urgency – something that his primary competitors (Ronnie Prude and David Pittman) have not as they battle for a sixth cornerback spot on the 53 man roster.

Martin plays to the whistle and even when receivers appear to gain possession, the third year defensive back from

Wyoming
scraps and fights in an attempt to dislodge the football.  Oftentimes in ’08 he’s been successful.

Unfortunately an old labrum injury may sideline Martin for a while.  He left the field on Saturday night against the Vikings clutching his shoulder.  Word is that he may have dislodged a couple of pins inserted to secure the labrum.  Currently Martin’s shoulder is in a sling.

Seven injured players returned to practice, including tight ends Todd Heap (calf) and Daniel Wilcox (toe), offensive tackle Adam Terry (sprained left ankle), Ngata (sprained right medial collateral ligament), cornerbacks Chris McAlister (right knee) and Samari Rolle (left leg) and David Pittman (foot) and linebacker Tavares Gooden (hip). 

The Ravens had some concerns about Gooden’s injury because he’s lost valuable reps in practice.  When Gooden recognizes his assignment, his speed and instincts take over and he is very fast to the football.  But Rex Ryan’s defense is complex and unorthodox.  Gooden’s speed is negated by his unfamiliarity with the scheme.  It may take some time for him to contribute on defense.  That said the team is very excited about the potential of his special teams contributions.

Some around town are wondering what all the hoopla is about regarding Cam Cameron’s offense.  Those folks need to recognize.  Do artists leave their best performances on the dress rehearsal stage?  Cameron isn’t showing in the preseason games what he’s practiced at camp.  Stay tuned and keep the faith. 

Baltimore
you will be pleasantly surprised assuming of course the Ravens’ quarterbacks get a chance to at least plant their feet before they are forced to throw or run or dial 911.

It’s interesting to observe John Harbaugh interact with the media particularly when compared to Brian Billick’s approach.  Billick, despite being condescending at times was schooled in the art of public relations.  He knew how to play the game.  For the moment Harbaugh seems to be a mouthpiece of the PR Department.  Like Troy Smith, he needs more reps.

That said Harbaugh is a hard working likable guy perfectly suited for this town.  It will be interesting to watch his maturation process with the media.  It will also be interesting to hear words that are actually his.

ProFootballTalk.com reported that the Ravens were among an ample handful of teams scouting the Patriots @ Bucs game.  PFT believes that Ravens’ reps were on hand to scout Chris Simms.  Let’s hope that if it’s true that Ravens personnel were on hand, they were there scouting an offensive lineman on the bubble of one of those teams.  The only difference between Chris Simms and Kyle Boller is that Simms is left-handed.  Excuse me but why bother?

I’ve been wondering…How did Frank Walker sleep on Saturday night?  Hmm, let’s see, maybe those 1.2 million reasons?  Let’s hope he’s impressive on special teams because he may be the worst cover guy the team has on the 80 man roster…Maybe the Ravens should find out what really ticks off Chris Chester.  He just seems to be way too happy collecting a paycheck at the expense of the scouts and Eric DeCosta who invested in his athletic ability.  To say he lacks a mean streak would be an extreme understatement…How bad was Xavier Lee that the Ravens released him before camp started? The Ravens don’t exactly have Shannon Sharpe and Ben Coates on their roster any more…Ronnie Prude is a long shot to make the team.  That might not bother Ray Rice much.  If Prude is let go it would open up Rice’s college jersey No. 27 for the rookie running back.  Come to think of it, if Prude goes it might not bother Ravens PR Announcer Bruce Cunningham much either…
 
Tonight the Orioles host the Boston Red Sox.  Now what is the one thing that bothers

Baltimore
fans most about the Red Sox coming to town?  Why of course it’s the overwhelming majority of Sox fans in attendance at Camden Yards.  Now with that in mind, the Orioles are rewarding fan No. 50,000,000 tonight at the game with season tickets for 5 years and $50,000.  The Orioles have often been shortsighted in their thinking and tonight will be no exception when the likely winner will be a fan wearing a Red Sox cap…Staying with the O’s, they have decided to move their September 7 home game to September 6 as part of a day night doubleheader against the A’s.  Joe Stiglich of the Bay Area News Group began his piece yesterday with this:

The A’s will play their first doubleheader in more than two years Sept. 6 at Camden Yards, and they can thank the Baltimore Ravens.

The A’s and Baltimore Orioles were scheduled to play an afternoon game Sept. 7, a Sunday, to conclude a three-game series. The Ravens open their NFL schedule that day against the Cincinnati Bengals at nearby M&T Bank Stadium, and the Orioles don’t want to play at the same time because of potential parking nightmares.

So the A’s-Orioles game will be played the day before as part of a day-night doubleheader. The games are scheduled to begin at 10:05 a.m. and 4:05 p.m. Only the second game will be televised in the Bay Area, on Channel 36.

Well boo-hoo.  Will anyone really care about a game between two sub .500 teams on Opening Day of the NFL season?

And finally, we’ve all seen the Coors Light commercials with former coaches being featured in bogus press conferences.  Brian Billick may be on deck to follow in the footsteps of Jim Mora, Bill Parcells and Denny Green.  Here’s a sampling of a Coors promo from Billick which I’ll label, "Be The Pig."

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Tony Lombardi

About Tony Lombardi

Tony is 24x7 Networks, LLC's founder (the parent of EutawStreetReport.com and RussellStreetReport.com) His work has been featured on various sports websites and he is a regular guest on 105.7 The Fan and he hosts "The Fanimal" also heard on 105.7 The Fan, Saturdays from 8-9AM. Among his favorite things in life are his wife, kids, family, friends, The Beatles, Breaking Bad, Gladiator, The Godfather, Guinness, orange crushes, meatballs and Key West, not necessarily in that order. Follow Tony on Twitter @RSRLombardi. More from Tony Lombardi

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