T. Smith shows arm, moves

Ravens notebook

But rookie quarterback's status remains unclear before final cuts are made

September 01, 2007|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,Sun reporter

ATLANTA -- The good news for rookie quarterback Troy Smith is that he displayed the arm strength and on-the-move creativity that prompted the Ravens to pick the Heisman Trophy winner in the fifth round of the NFL draft.

The bad news is that his status is still unclear.

Smith, who played the entire second half of last night's 13-10 loss to the Atlanta Falcons, showed flashes of his ability with his arm and his feet, but his fate now rests with the Ravens' coaching staff, which must trim the roster from 73 players to 53 today.

"I'm anxious to see how the process is going to be and what's going to happen," he said. "I can do nothing but get better. The reps that you get are incredibly important. It's all dependent on you and how good you do. As a quarterback, I've got to continue to study."

Smith, who beat out Drew Olson for the No. 3 role earlier in the week, completed 11 of 18 passes for 86 yards, threw an interception on the game's final drive and recorded a passer rating of 49.8.

Although some of Smith's passes were wild and off-target, the rookie seemed to thrive when the pass protection was breaking down.

On three occasions during the offense's second series of the half, Smith escaped a collapsing pocket and fired completions of 17 and 11 yards to receiver Romby Bryant and one of 12 yards to receiver Matt Willis.

Those completions helped the Ravens in a 12-play, 44-yard drive that culminated with Rhys Lloyd's 55-yard field goal.

But at times, Smith's reliance on his feet backfired. While trying to create plays and waiting for his receivers to spring open, Smith was sacked four times.

Afterward, Smith could only dwell on the loss.

"I take pride in winning," he said. "I take pride in being a team player in every portion of the game, and every time you go out and you don't get a win, that's upsetting, whether it's preseason or not."

Coach Brian Billick said Smith's fate would be one of many tough decisions for the coaching staff.

"We'll look at the film, get a sense of what he did, what he didn't do, and where we think he can help us," he said. "He did some good things and did some things that he'll have to get better on."

Yanda moves over

Rookie Marshal Yanda's first start at right tackle may be one of many for the Ravens' third-round pick.

Yanda, who opened the game at right tackle because Adam Terry started at left tackle, had a solid debut and said he enjoyed playing on the right side of the line.

"Yeah, I feel more comfortable over there," Yanda said. "It shows up in practice. I can move a lot out of my stance, I don't know why. That's just the way it goes right now. I'm just trying to learn every day and pick up stuff and listen to coaches and get better day by day."

Yanda, who tweaked his left knee while pass blocking, said he should be ready to practice Monday.

In other injury-related news, quarterback Kyle Boller injured his right knee and receiver/return specialist Yamon Figurs injured his shoulder.

The extent of Boller's injury has not been determined, but the team will evaluate the knee in Baltimore. Figurs said his shoulder is sore, but shouldn't prevent him from practicing Monday.

Lloyd's leg up?

Thought to be on the bubble, Lloyd may have cemented a spot on the team's 53-man roster.

He sent all three of his kickoffs into the end zone and drilled the 55-yard field goal that might have been good from 65 yards.

"I think I've done a good enough job, but you never know whether they really want to take an extra spot for another kicker," said Lloyd, who has converted all three of his field-goal attempts and kicked eight of nine kickoffs into the end zone this preseason. "But I won't be disappointed either way because I feel like I've done a good job here, and we'll see what happens."

Billick seemed impressed, saying, "He's clearly got the leg you've been looking for."

Et cetera

Offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden (turf toe), cornerback Samari Rolle (sprained ankle), wide receiver Mark Clayton (sprained ankle) and tight end Daniel Wilcox (sprained ankle) did not play. ... After committing four false starts in the first quarter of last Saturday's preseason game against the Washington Redskins, the Ravens didn't jump early until rookie right guard Ben Grubbs moved before the snap near the two-minute warning of the first half. The Ravens finished with just three penalties for 18 yards. ... The team reached an injury settlement with offensive tackle Steve Edwards (torn meniscus). ... Linebacker Ryan Riddle had two sacks among his four tackles.

edward.lee@baltsun.com

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