A chance to answer the QB question

Ravens Weekend

September 19, 2008|By JAMISON HENSLEY | JAMISON HENSLEY,jamison.hensley@baltsun.com

When the Ravens drafted Joe Flacco this year, the initial debate was whether he would have more success than Kyle Boller, the previous quarterback taken by the team in the first round.

But the bigger question is this: Will Flacco become a better quarterback than Derek Anderson?

This could have a strong ripple effect on Ravens history.

The Ravens drafted Anderson in the sixth round in 2005, but the Cleveland Browns grabbed him off the waiver wire when general manager Ozzie Newsome tried to sneak him onto the practice squad.

So when the Ravens took Flacco with the 18th overall pick, it seemed as if the team was using its top pick on the same type of quarterback it had failed to hold on to three years ago.

Flacco and Anderson tower over most NFL quarterbacks. They seem mature beyond their years. And they have reputations for being strong-armed quarterbacks who can make all the throws.

But the Ravens believe Flacco has a stronger upside, or at least they hope so.

Anderson made fans question the Ravens' personnel decision-making last season, when he threw for 29 touchdowns and led the Browns to a 10-6 record.

He became the first quarterback drafted by the Ravens to reach the Pro Bowl, an embarrassing fact because he accomplished the feat for an AFC North rival.

But Anderson has struggled to back up a strong first impression.

In his first 12 games of 2007, he completed 57.3 percent of his passes, throwing for 24 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. His quarterback rating was 87.7.

In his past six starts, Anderson has connected on 47.5 percent of his passes, throwing for six touchdowns and eight interceptions. His rating over that span is 57.8.

Throughout his short NFL career, Anderson has been known as a streaky passer. That's why it's unknown whether this is a temporary slump or a sign that defensive coordinators are catching up to him.

On Sunday, the Ravens will see their quarterback past and present collide.

By the end of the game, they can only hope that the sellout crowd will once again chant, "Let's go, Flacco," and not leave questioning the team's quarterback decision from three years ago.

PASSING PICKS

A look at the Ravens' quarterback draft history:

Year Quarterback College Round

1996 Jon Stark Trinity Int'l 7th

1997 Wally Richardson Penn State 7th

2000 Chris Redman Louisville 3rd

2002 Wes Pate Stephen F. Austin 7th

2003 Kyle Boller California 1st

2005 Derek Anderson Oregon State 6th

2007 Troy Smith Ohio State 5th

2008 Joe Flacco Delaware 1st

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