Ravens notebook: "Boller is tough" - Billick

OWINGS MILLS -- Baltimore Ravens coach Brian Billick's assessment of Kyle Boller was nearly as blunt as some of the hits the quarterback absorbed from the Pittsburgh Steelers.

While complimenting Boller's physical toughness, Billick would like to see him calm down and not play with such a frenetic pace.

One week after throwing three interceptions against the Jacksonville Jaguars in his first game back from a toe injury, Boller only threw one interception and delivered a touchdown pass in a 16-13 overtime win over the Steelers.

"Kyle was better than he was last week, and he needs to be better next week than he was this week in a couple of areas," Billick said. "He made some great throws, tough, key, game-affecting throws, and he missed a couple.

"The speed, the rushing himself just a little bit, but he was better than last week and he needs to be even better this week."

Boller was sacked five times, and his pocket awareness and timing is still fairly erratic.

He completed 21 of 36 passes for 163 yards for a 67.2 passer rating. However, he did bounce back after taking a big hit from Steelers safety Troy Polamalu. Boller experienced soreness in his toe along with his back and hip Sunday.

"When you date a beautiful woman, where do you put the ability to cook in there?" Billick said. "Kyle Boller is one tough individual. He took some hits. He got beat up pretty good.

"Of all the evaluations of Kyle Boller -- inside, outside, nationally -- no one can question that aspect with this kid and that's a positive."

TRAINING ROOM: Billick indicated that he's encouraged with linebacker Ray Lewis' progress from a thigh injury that has kept him out for four games, but didn't predict whether Lewis or safety Ed Reed will play Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Reed has missed five games with a high-ankle sprain.

Offensive guard Keydrick Vincent may miss a second week with a quad contusion, which means Brian Rimpf could start his second game in a row at right guard.

Orlando Brown (back) is expected to be available to rotate with Tony Pashos at right tackle after being out Sunday.

Cornerback Samari Rolle is another concern after suffering a concussion.

"I don't know Samari's history with that," Billick said. "We certainly won't put him at risk if there's a history."

If Rolle can't play, the Ravens would likely activate cornerback Zach Norton after being forced to insert punt returner B.J. Sams in nickel situations against Pittsburgh.

"When you put your punt returner in to play defensive back, it says, ‘We're a little thin,'" Billick said. "He did a great job on his two plays. We actually blitzed him on one play."

QUICK HITS: The Ravens have allowed 29 sacks. ... Baltimore has a minus-11 turnover margin to rank 29th in the NFL. ... Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer leads the NFL with a 105.6 passer rating, and he's tied with Colts quarterback Peyton Manning with 20 touchdown passes. ... Bengals receiver Chad Johnson leads the AFC in receptions (61) and receiving yards (997). ... The Ravens awarded game balls to running back Chester Taylor (offense), linebacker Bart Scott (defense) and fullback Ovie Mughelli (special teams).

In addition to being a long time contributor to RavensInsider, Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times in Westminster Maryland.

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