Playing It Fair With The Quarterbacks

August 23, 2008 |

I give high marks to Ravens head coach John Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Cam Cameron; both have shown excellent judgment through this preseason’s quarterback competition. 
They started the process right, back in the spring following the retirement of Steve McNair.  The pair immediately opened the quarterback competition to both Troy Smith and Kyle Boller.  Then a week later they drafted Joe Flacco out of Delaware.
This preseason, they have given each quarterback a fair and equal shot at the job.  They were correct to start Boller first, giving a nod to experience, and right to give Smith the start in game two.  They have been even more correct to see that Flacco is not ready yet to be the starting quarterback. 
This week, I think they made another shrewd move in giving Smith the start vs. the Rams in St. Louis.  Harbaugh was right when he said that they need to find more out about Smith and they need to give him an extended look. They are also right to give Flacco the remaining reps after Smith plays vs. the Rams.  After all he needs them to continue his development.   At this point a few snaps in a preseason game aren’t going to make a difference to Boller.
Some fans are already distressed at the play of the quarterbacks.  That’s not Cameron and Harbaugh’s fault.  The fact is none of the QB’s have played well, partly because of the unsettled nature of the offensive line and partly because of a combination of accuracy, nerves and poor decision making. Injuries at running back, wide receiver and tight end haven’t helped either.  For Flacco this will come with time and maturity; for Boller & Smith it may never come. 
At the end of the day, they have all been given a fair shot thus far, and right now no one has risen to the challenge.  Let’s hope Smith changes that this weekend.