faceoff: who should be the ravens' starting quarterback?

Smith safe port in this storm

August 25, 2008|By DAVID STEELE

Sometimes the devil you know isn't actually better than the devil you don't know.

With Troy Smith, you don't have much of a track record on which to base a decision. That helps the Ravens in this way: He hasn't taken the beating Kyle Boller has, become known for soul-crushing turnovers the way Boller has or inspired widespread skepticism the way Boller has.

What Smith has done in a short time is carry himself like a field general, presenting an aura of command in and out of the huddle that true starters must have. He hasn't been in position to make a lot of decisions under fire, but when he has, they have not been the disastrous, drive-killing, forehead-slapping variety.

On the contrary, he has not acted rattled very often, if at all, and projects calmness rather than jitters and jumps. That will come in handy with an offense that bears all the signs of being in constant chaos. We've already seen what Boller does under similar conditions.

That's not much of an endorsement. Then again, this isn't much of a competition.

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