Boller's start vs. Flacco's: no comparison

RAVENS BEAT

November 07, 2008|By JAMISON HENSLEY | JAMISON HENSLEY,jamison.hensley@baltsun.com

At the midway points of their rookie seasons, Joe Flacco and Kyle Boller quarterbacked the Ravens to 5-3 records.

That's where the comparisons end.

Whether it's statistics or situations, it has become clear that Flacco was ready to start in his first season and Boller was not.

In 2003, Boller was thrust into starting role on a team that had playoff aspirations.

Through his first eight games, he averaged only 142.2 passing yards and completed barely half of his passes. With Jamal Lewis running over teams, Boller's job was to not lose games. The Ravens won three games in which Boller threw for 78, 98 and 75 yards.

It was a less pressurized spot for Flacco, who was considered the de facto starter (Boller was injured and Troy Smith was sick) on a team that was perceived to be rebuilding.

Throughout the first half of this season, Flacco was given more responsibility - and opportunity - than Boller, averaging 183 passing yards and completing 61.8 percent of his throws. Despite a strong running game, the Ravens have continued to open up the playbook for Flacco.

The other major difference between the quarterbacks in their rookie seasons was their poise.

Boller talked fast and played faster. From his first start at Pittsburgh, he never seemed comfortable in the pocket.

His worst game early in his rookie season was against the Kansas City Chiefs. Boller threw interceptions at the Kansas City 2-yard line, 7-yard line and in the end zone. He followed up that three-interception performance by completing nine passes for 75 yards at Arizona.

While the game seemed overwhelming to Boller, it has not appeared to rattle Flacco, who generally talks as if he had awoken from a nap.

After Flacco had his three-interception game at Indianapolis - which prompted many to wonder whether the Ravens should sit him - he threw for 232 yards and a touchdown in Miami.

The possible turning point of his rookie season came Sunday in Cleveland. After the Ravens' defense had allowed two touchdowns to open the second half, Flacco was sacked and faced third-and-16 from the Ravens' 15. Despite all the momentum on the Browns' side, Flacco completed a 20-yard pass to Derrick Mason, which jump-started the Ravens' comeback.

It might be too early to say Flacco will turn into an elite quarterback.

But there are definite signs - from that third-down pass in Cleveland to his improvised touchdown runs to his elusive scramble-and-throw in Pittsburgh - that Flacco is more prepared to be a starter than Boller was.

FLACCO VS. BOLLER

A look at how the only quarterbacks the Ravens drafted in the first round fared through eight games:

Joe Flacco ...................... Category ................................ Kyle Boller

8 ...................................... Starts ....................................... 8

5 ......................................... Wins ....................................... 5

136 ......................... Completions ............................. 105

220 ............................ Attempts .................................. 202

1,464 ............................. Yards .................................. 1,138

183.0 ...................... Yards per game ..................... 142.2

61.8 .............. Completion percentage .................. 51.9

5 ............................. Touchdowns .................................. 6

7 ............................. Interceptions .................................. 8

14 ................................. Sacks ...................................... 16

75.6 ............................. Rating .................................... 62.2

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