Call me crazy, but I’m seriously wondering if Kyle Boller is even going to make it out of preseason as a Raven. Nursing the mysterious “stiff” shoulder that kept him out of Saturday night’s game, Boller’s demeanor during the game spoke volumes (to me at least).
Here’s a guy who is supposedly battling for the starting job in a new offensive system, and, near as I could tell, Boller spent the entire night detached from the action, standing virtually alone on the sidelines wearing a baseball cap. Though he had a wire in his ear (so he could listen to the offensive play calls), you’d think he would’ve been Cam Cameron’s shadow, looking over the new offensive coordinator’s shoulder and interacting with Cameron and rookie quarterback Joe Flacco whenever possible.
But the fact is Boller has no more connection to the current offensive coaches (and head coach) than Flacco. In fact, now that Flacco played four quarters Saturday night, Boller has even less in-game experience with the new regime than the rookie from Delaware.
The conspiracy theorist in me would say that the injury was a complete fabrication, as — and please correct me if I’m wrong — we were never told by anyone on the team or in the media last week that Boller wasn’t practicing. We were certainly told that Troy Smith would get the start vs. the Rams, but did anyone say Boller wouldn’t — couldn’t — play at all in the game?
There also seems to be an incongruity between what the team reported Saturday evening (that Boller’s shoulder stiffness in pregame warmups forced Flacco into full-time duty) and what Flacco himself said (that he learned Saturday morning that he would be getting extensive playing time vs. the Rams).
To further my conspiracy theory, I would say that the team, once Smith was ruled out with an illness, simply couldn’t let Boller play for fear that he would look impressive (you can stop laughing now) and thus win the quarterback “competition.” If they are truly considering letting Boller go prior to the season, they certainly couldn’t risk that possibility.
Of course, the Ravens really don’t need to stage some intricate scheme to rid themselves of Boller. The only reason he’s even still on the team is because the previous regime thought his longevity in their -system made him an attractive one-year back-up to Steve McNair. Now that regime and system, as well as McNair, are history and Boller is supposedly auditioning, like everyone else, with a clean slate.
Though he has tried to make a good impression to the new coaching staff (he was cited by head coach John Harbaugh for his attendance at off-season workouts), the simple fact is that Harbaugh, Cameron, etc., like the rest of us, was only wondering if things would finally “click” for the kid in a new system. Their impending anointment of Smith as the starter, besides being a popular choice with the players, proves that click never happened.
With a bunch of NFL players about to hit the streets with the first wave of cuts on Tuesday then the paring down to the final 53 by Saturday, there are sure to be some quarterbacks out there with prior experience in Cameron’s system or familiarity with other new Ravens coaches.
All of which could spell a quick end to Boller’s days as a Raven.