In Troy we trust

FACEOFF

Should The Ravens Stick With Joe Flacco As Starting Qb?

October 14, 2008|By DON MARKUS

The news last week that John Harbaugh was going to stick with rookie Joe Flacco at quarterback for the remainder of the season was buried among the typical blizzard of Ravens-Colts pre-game story lines.

Only one problem: There was another kind of blizzard, and another kind of burial, Sunday in Indianapolis.

Here's this week's story line: Harbaugh should admit to being a little premature in mapping out Flacco's rookie season and start Troy Smith as soon as he is physically ready.

Flacco is quickly turning into the reincarnation of Kyle Boller. Through his first five games, Flacco has thrown one fewer touchdown pass (one) and one more interception (seven) than Boller did in his first five starts back in 2003.

Which brings us to Smith.

Though he didn't exactly distinguish himself in training camp and preseason before being sidelined with a tonsil infection that led to other serious complications, Smith showed as a rookie last season more potential than many thought he possessed coming out of Ohio State.

It was against the then-winless Miami Dolphins on the road in December that Smith took his first meaningful snaps as an NFL quarterback when Boller got knocked out in the second half with a concussion.

If Brian Billick didn't take the game out of Smith's hands by going for a field goal to force overtime, the Ravens might not have suffered the embarrassing overtime loss.

Flacco is clearly the quarterback of the future, and well he should be after what he showed in the first three games. But after what happened yesterday, it's time to let Flacco take baby steps the rest of his rookie season and not the same missteps that probably ruined Boller's career.

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