Boller has productive day

Kyle Boller flashed through virtually the entire quarterback spectrum.<p> In his most extended work yet at the Baltimore Ravens' training camp, the rookie passer did everything from adeptly conduct the two-minute drill, had an interception returned for a touchdown and being roughly deposited on the ground.<p>

It was another series of steps for Boller on Monday morning to regain the ground he lost in the club's quarterback competition during a contract holdout that lasted three days with an additional day of practice lost as league executives ratified his deal.

Boller demonstrated in his first work in full pads that he has obviously been studying the playbook. He mixed in strategy to go with spirals. Boller directed the second offense 75 yards before the drive stalled and settled for a field goal.

He occasionally found his secondary reads after discovering his primary receiver was covered. He spread the football around liberally, alternating between out passes and longer patterns to wideouts, swing passes to running backs and hitting tight ends on shorter passes.

"I got a lot of reps, which was awesome," said Boller, a first-round pick from Cal. "It was nice to get out there with the guys and to actually get the live bullets coming at you."

The ammunition unloaded on Boller included an assault from rookie outside linebacker Terrell Suggs, the Ravens' other first-round selection. Suggs blitzed upfield then was pushed into Boller, upending the quarterback.

The pass rusher from Arizona State sacked Boller once while competing against him in the Pac-10 Conference.

Boller was unharmed although he quipped that he thought he initially broke his back and entire left side.

"Brings back old memories," said Boller, who improved markedly last fall in the Golden Bears' 7-5 campaign with career-highs of 2,815 yards and 28 touchdowns. "He's a great player. It's awesome to have such a good defense coming at you. You get the best reps that way."

Boller's other lowlight occurred when he was trying to locate tight end Terry Jones downfield, but threw an interception to safety Gary Baxter. Baxter returned it for a touchdown. Initially, it appeared that Boller had stared down his target and gave away his intentions. Actually, Boller said Jones was supposed to run a slant route, but instead ran a hitch. Regardless of who's at fault, the instance is simply part of the indoctrination process into the NFL.

"The receiver ran the wrong route," Boller said. "He didn't know, but a pick's a pick."

Meanwhile, incumbent Chris Redman, the man with the inside track to winning the starting job for the season-opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers, had an encouraging practice.

On his best throw, Redman threaded the football between safeties Ed Reed and Baxter to find receiver Travis Taylor behind the secondary.

A week ago, Ravens coach Brian Billick criticized the offense after a sloppy effort to open camp.

"Obviously, we had some things to work on," Redman said. "I think we're starting to find out who we are."

Boller spent his time away from the Ravens' camp working out daily and also reviewing what had already been installed at minicamps.

He also kept in contact with the coaching staff, discussing plays and formations with offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh.

Monday's progress after a mock game performance marred by interceptions Boller tossed to linebacker Ray Lewis and cornerback Chris McAlister appears to be evidence that the rookie's a fast study.

"Yeah, he wasn't that far off," Cavanaugh said. "We would have loved to have had him here the first week, but he's done a good job. I know he's been studying. You can tell.

"When he's given a play, he calls it and has a pretty good idea of what's happening."

The trick, though, for Boller is not attempting to make up every repetition, meeting and cadence in a few days.

"He seemed very poised," Billick said. "He seemed to understand what was going on."

Boller is able to recite the nomenclature of the Ravens' complex offense for the most part.

However, when Boller was stumped Monday he simply called a miniature timeout and got back in the huddle to consult with the coaching staff.

"Sometimes, I'm making the wrong call," Boller said. "I've got a lot of things to think about like 'Jet right' instead of 'Jet left,' so I got to get back and regroup."

During the long drive at the close of practice, Boller showed no signs of indecision or memory lapses.

He fell back on familiar patterns and went through his progressions, trusting his reads and adjusting to take advantage of whatever openings the defense revealed.

Those actions mirrored the advice quarterbacks and receivers coach David Shaw offered to Boller.

"He said, 'Take things slow and don't try to do everything in a day,'" Boller said. "I think that's a good philosophy because if you try to do too much, you are going to get yourself in trouble."

Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times.


Ravens Insider Top Stories