Around the league - Baltimore Ravens

Limited snaps while often working without key personnel makes it difficult to fully evaluate quarterbacks through the first two preseason games. Take Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger. Few are predicting a sophomore slump based on two poor preseason appearances because wide receiver Hines Ward just recently reported to camp and other receivers were jumbled around in his absence.

However, with less than three weeks remaining before the start of the regular season, several teams have to be legitimately concerned about their quarterback situation. Three in particular have to be downright scared as they watch underachieving youngsters continue to falter.

Baltimore's Kyle Boller is 15-for-24 for 145 yards, has thrown three interceptions and has been sacked three times in just over three quarters of action this preseason.

"You've got to be confident at this position; you can never doubt yourself," Boller said. "You can learn from your mistakes, but if you go out next week and be hesitant and don't make throws because you don't want to throw an interception -- you can't play it that way at this position."
Washington and Detroit are in similar boats. Patrick Ramsey had some strong moments in the Redskins' second preseason game, but he also threw two interceptions. Meanwhile, Joey Harrington has yet to throw a touchdown pass for the Lions this preseason. The good news for Harrington is his backup, Jeff Garcia, has thrown three interceptions.

There are only two true battles for a starting quarterback job still open. Rookie Alex Smith has struggled in his first two games for the 49ers, who might opt to go with veteran Tim Rattay to open the season. And just when Gus Frerotte appeared to have pulled ahead of A.J. Feeley in Miami, he turned in a poor outing Saturday.

"I don't want to have a quarterback controversy, but I want every guy to know they have an opportunity to be the quarterback if they do a good job," said Dolphins coach Nick Saban, who has alternated starts between Feeley and Frerotte. "Somebody's got to take the bull by the horns and be the leader and make things happen for us offensively. I'm not sure that's happened yet."

Considering the Dolphins are 0-3 in the preseason and have scored fewer points in each successive game, it's pretty clear no one has taken the bull by the horns in Miami's quarterback battle.



Kyle Boller's rough offseason continued when he had two interceptions and a fumble in the Ravens' second preseason game.

In five series against the Philadelphia Eagles' starting defense, the third-year starting quarterback had nearly as many turnovers (three) as completions (four).

"It's probably my worst quarter and half in the NFL," Boller said. "It's one of those things where after the second (interception), you think, 'It can't get any worse than this.'"
In just over three quarters of action this preseason, Boller is 15-for-24 for 145 yards. He has been intercepted and sacked three times each.

It hasn't helped Boller that the Ravens offense has not been at full strength. In the second preseason game, the Ravens were missing four starters on offense: running back Jamal Lewis (ankle), tight end Todd Heap (ankle and shoulder), fullback Alan Ricard (calf) and left guard Edwin Mulitalo (personal reasons). All are expected to be ready for the Sept. 11 regular-season opener.

But there was little sympathy after Boller's third turnover, when the home crowd loudly booed the offense coming off the field.

"You hear them," Boller said. "That's part of the game. You have to keep your head up. There's always another play."

Boller did direct the Ravens to their first offensive touchdown of the preseason -- a five-yard pass to tight end Daniel Wilcox late in the first half -- but by that point, the Eagles had pulled all of their starters.

"You've got to be confident at this position; you can never doubt yourself," Boller said. "You can learn from your mistakes, but if you go out next week and be hesitant and don't make throws because you don't want to throw an interception -- you can't play it that way at this position."
There have been few rumblings of a quarterback controversy. Backup quarterback Anthony Wright hasn't received any playing time with the starting group and has had little time to throw behind the second-team offensive line.

Wright, who missed all of last season with a shoulder injury, finished 14-for-23 for 140 yards in the second preseason game.

"You can tell the rust is still there to a degree," coach Brian Billick said.


--The Ravens' concerns coming off the second preseason game extended beyond quarterback Kyle Boller's struggles.

The Ravens defense gave up a 51-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown by Eagles running back Brian Westbrook, and Philadelphia's Dexter Wynn returned a punt 74 yards for a touchdown.

"Thank God, it's still preseason," coach Brian Billick said. "But the mistakes are correctable."
Asked if they could be corrected by the regular season, Billick said, "They've got to be."

--Running back Jamal Lewis estimated that his ankle is 90 percent and admitted there is still
some soreness. The coaching staff decided a day before the second preseason game to not play him after initially planning to use him 10 to 12 plays.

"I think I could actually play this week," Lewis said. "But I don't want to go out there and not be 100 percent. That's not me, that's not how I play. We have two more games after this one, and I think those are the ones I'm really shooting for."

--Outside linebacker Adalius Thomas did not play in the home preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Thomas practiced with the starters earlier in the week but did not take part in the final walkthrough. It will be the second game Thomas has missed because of a hyperextended knee.
"He's feeling better," Billick said. "All the imagery is negative."

--In light of all the controversy surrounding Eagles receiver Terrell Owens, QB Kyle Boller let out a sigh of relief when asked if he thinks about how close Owens came to being a Raven.
"I love the guys that I'm with right now," Boller said. "Things happen for a reason. I don't even waste my breath saying his name."

--Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs won the team's annual "King Ugly" contest.

--Coach Brian Billick shaved his gray beard, which had drawn so much attention since the beginning of camp.

--RB Jamal Lewis is expected to make his first start in the third preseason game. He will play about 10 to 12 snaps and take about five carries.
--RB Chester Taylor will go from starter to backup with Jamal Lewis coming back. Taylor rushed for 102 yards in three quarters of work with the starters this preseason.
--TE Todd Heap could come off the physically unable to perform list this week. But he likely won't play until the preseason finale.
--TE Darnell Dinkins did not play in the second preseason game because of a coaching decision.
--LB Peter Boulware was re-signed by the Ravens as a pass-rushing specialist. He likely won't play until the preseason finale. He replaces Dan Cody, who is expected to miss the season with a severely sprained knee.
--G Edwin Mulitalo missed the second preseason game for personal reasons. His father recently had a stroke. He was replaced by Brian Rimpf.
--G Brian Rimpf replaced Edwin Mulitalo in the starting lineup at left guard. Mulitalo did not play because of personal reasons.
--FB Alan Ricard missed his second straight game with a calf injury. He probably will start this week. He was replaced by Ovie Mughelli.
--CB Dale Carter could try to practice again this week. He has been sidelined the past two weeks with a leg injury.
--LB Jarret Johnson started the second straight week at strong-side linebacker for the injured Adalius Thomas. He is a hard-effort player but lacks the speed of Thomas.
--LB Adalius Thomas is expected to return to the starting lineup after missing the past two games with a hyperextended knee.
--QB Darian Durant was cut after the Ravens signed Peter Boulware. Durant was the No. 4 quarterback who did not play this preseason.
--CB Samari Rolle injured his knee early in the second quarter and did not return. It was not considered serious.
--LB Dan Cody (sprained knee) is expected to miss the entire season. He will be re-evaluated in a couple of weeks.
--TE Todd Heap (shoulder and ankle) is on the physically unable to perform list but could be activated this week. He might not play until the final preseason game.
--RB Musa Smith (leg) will likely stay on the PUP and will miss the first five games of the regular season.
--CB Dale Carter (leg) could return to practice after missing the past two weeks.
--LB Adalius Thomas (hyperextended knee) practiced last week but did not play in the second preseason game. He is expected to start the third one.
--FB Alan Ricard (calf) sat out his second straight game. He is expected to return this week.

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