Checking On Smith, Gholston And Many More

With the first round of NFL preseason games taking place this week, we check in with updates on Troy Smith, Vernon Gholston, Kirk Barton, Bobby Carpenter and others in this week's installment of Professionally Speaking.

Troy Smith will not start the Baltimore Ravens' first preseason game Thursday night at New England. That honor will instead go to veteran Kyle Boller.

As recently as yesterday, Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh remained aloof about who his choice would be, but the team listed Boller No. 1 with Smith behind him and rookie first-round pick Joe Flacco No. 3 in the depth chart included in media notes published on the team's website.

(Download the PDF here if you'd like)

Despite Harbaugh's choice of Boller to open the game against the Patriots, reports out of training camp have generally indicated Smith to be the top performer of the three quarterbacks.

He told reporters Monday he was not concerned about who starts this week.

"There's a lot still to come out of this," Smith said. "I know that we're pretty much going to get about the same amount of playing time. The cards will fall whichever way they do, and hopefully our preparation will get us a win."

During training camp, his main focus is learning new offensive coordinator Cam Cameron's scheme and continuing to develop his recognition of defenses.

"Definitely, I've got to get better within the offense," Smith said. "There are so many things that I can learn that I'm still learning that are often on the table. I need to get a feel for this offense because it's a lot to handle. Definitely have to get into the playbook."…

The Ravens and Patriots are among 10 teams that will kick off their preseason game schedule on Thursday. The other games are the New York Giants (including former Buckeye Shane Olivea) at Detroit, New Orleans (Will Smith, Kevin Houser) at Arizona (Dionte Johnson), the New York Jets (Nick Mangold, Mike Nugent, Vernon Gholston) at Cleveland and Kansas City at Chicago (Kirk Barton).

Olivea (back injury), Vrabel (undisclosed) and Johnson (ankle) all have been nursing injuries lately and could be held out of action...

Elsewhere on the injury front, we have a report from that Joey Galloway remains out of action at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' camp.

"I think it's time to start officially worrying about the wide receiver," BucsBlitz editor and publisher Matthew Postins writes today. "He hasn't practiced a bit in camp and each day, Gruden isn't optimistic on the WR's progress. Let's think back to 2004, when Galloway missed half the season with a torn groin. The Bucs have never revealed how serious Galloway's injury is. I'm not saying it's torn, so don't make that assumption. But, it's time to start considering the option that Galloway may not play until late August, at the earliest. Groins are tricky, and Galloway is too important to the offense to be on the shelf in September."…

Meanwhile, Barton hopes to have only healthy days ahead of him. An injury he suffered during practices for the Senior Bowl in January might have contributed to the All-American's slipping all the way to the seventh round of the NFL draft in April, but Sporting News Today correspondent Brad Biggs reported Aug. 2 that Barton was a standout through the first 10 days of training camp.

Barton reportedly is repping as the No. 2 right tackle behind starter John Tait.

"He could be a promising developmental player," Biggs wrote…

The same day, the same publication included word that Bobby Carpenter's first week of camp with the Dallas Cowboys was a positive experience that included backing up at both linebacker positions. SNT correspondent Jean-Jacques Taylor also reported that part of Carpenter's lackluster 2007 season can be attributed to a pinched nerve that bothered him for nearly half the season…

The Jets' visit to Cleveland should offer lots of Buckeye fans a chance to see in person the first game of Gholston's attempt to make the transition from college defensive end to NFL linebacker.

He recently admitted to NY Jets Confidential, a partner on the Scout Network, that the switch has been somewhat confusing.

"It's a new position for me, playing on my feet primarily, reading coverage, reading the receiver's release and all those things," Gholston said. "It may just take a little while."

Over the weekend, Jets head coach Eric Mangini told reporters he is not worried about the rookie's progress because there seems to be no lack of effort on the big fellow's part.

He also noted that Gholston is still feeling the effects of an NFL rule that prohibits players from taking part in many team activities until after their former school lets out for summer.

"I think Vernon's being hit with a ton of information, and he can't draw on anything from OTAs or the early part of training camp — it's all new. The neurons haven't snapped together yet."

Gholston is listed behind veteran Bryan Thomas on the depth chart published on the Jets' official team site as of Tuesday afternoon…

Finally, in case you missed it, the NFL preseason kicked off Sunday night with the annual Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio, and a number of Buckeyes took part.

Roy Hall caught four passes for a total of 31 yards for the Indianapolis Colts, while Anthony Gonzalez snared two catches for seven yards. Credited with the tackle one of those grabs was Shawn Springs, who started at cornerback for the Washington Redskins. Springs had two tackles on the night, both solos.

Also suiting up for the Colts were defensive back Antonio Smith (credited with one tackle) and offensive lineman Doug Datish.

Not there, however, was Quinn Pitcock. In following up on a story Professionally Speaking was tracking last week, we bring you the Indianapolis Star-Tribune's report that Pitcock opted to retire rather than report for training camp.

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