Boller prepping to start

OWINGS MILLS -- Although Steve McNair threw a few passes during practice Thursday, he remained limited enough with a groin pull that backup quarterback Kyle Boller is still preparing to start Sunday's home opener against the New York Jets. For Boller, he's studying his playbook and honing his timing in the event that McNair misses his first start since joining the team last season.

He took over under center in the Ravens' loss to the Cincinnati Bengals and was unable to engineer a comeback during a late red-zone situation.

McNair wasn't in full equipment Thursday and his activity was extremely limited.

"There's really not that much difference except I'm taking a lot more reps," said Boller, who had the third-highest quarterback rating among backups with a 104.0 mark last year. "As far as the preparation and film study, that stays the same.

"I try to watch as much tape as I can even if I'm not starting in case an opportunity presents itself, just trying to get the timing down."

Boller completed 2 of 6 passes for 19 yards and a 3.5 rating against the Bengals.

"If Kyle is asked to come in and play, he's going to be ready," wide receiver Derrick Mason said. "He was ready Monday."

If Boller starts, Ravens coach Brian Billick said the game plan wouldn't be altered dramatically.

And with the Ravens facing off with the Jets, it makes Boller reminisce about his second NFL season.

He manufactured a 20-17 comeback victory over New York at the Meadowlands, connecting with Clarence Moore for two touchdowns and setting up Matt Stover's game-winning kick.

"I was just thinking about it, and I was talking to my parents because they come to all the games and that was the one game they missed, the game where I had to hold in overtime to kick a field goal for the win," said Boller, who completed 19 of 33 passes for 213 yards to lead Baltimore back from a 14-0 deficit. "So, it's a good memory for the past."

INJURY UPDATE: Not practicing: offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden (turf toe), tight end Daniel Wilcox (sprained right ankle), cornerbacks Samari Rolle (foot) and David Pittman (ankle) and safety Samari Rolle (foot).

"It's both the foot and the ankle, but I'll be out there Sunday," said Rolle, adding that he'll practice today. "It's just precautionary."

Wilcox is walking around in an air cast.

"I might have overcompensated too much, but I think it was that field more than anything," Wilcox said. "It's not as bad as the sprained ankle from training camp."

Wide receivers Mark Clayton (toe) and Demetrius Williams (chest) were limited.

Tight end Todd Heap (elbow), defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (knee) and linebacker Gary Stills (chest) practiced fully.

The Jets made no changes to their injury report.

WRONG CALL: NFL director of officiating Mike Pereira acknowledged that the offensive pass interference call that nullified tight end Todd Heap's late touchdown catch was incorrect. He stated that there was pushing and shoving from both players, but not enough to warrant a flag.

"Well, it's a day later and dollar short," Boller said. "It's unfortunate. It would have been awesome. At least they came out and said that."

BACK IN THE FOLD: For running back Cory Ross, his paycheck and his mindset both got a boost with his promotion from the practice squad to the active roster.

He's slated to possibly assist rookie return specialist Yamon Figurs on punt returns Sunday.

"As a player, you want to be on the team and be active and have the possibility of playing," Ross said. "I don't know yet how it's going to work."

Ross has been counseling Figurs on dealing with the nerves of catching punts and kickoffs in an actual regular-season game.

"The first one is the hardest," Ross said. "You're definitely nervous. I'll make sure to talk to him and try to help him stay calm."

Plus, the Ravens tried out punter Glenn Pakulak to give Ross and Figurs a chance to practice against a left-footed punter heading into Sunday's matchup with left-footed Jets punter Ben Graham.

QUICK HITS: Running back Mike Anderson expressed relief to be back with the team after missing Monday's game due to personal reasons. "It was a family thing," Anderson said. "Everything is good now." ... Billick was complimentary of the work of rookie offensive tackle Marshal Yanda, who's set to make his first start. "He was good," Billick said. "That was a lot to be thrown into in the first game, and he stepped up very, very well." ... Defensive coordinator Rex Ryan opined that one defensive player should be designated to have a radio in his helmet. "That would make it a lot easier, trust me," Ryan said. "Obviously if the other team knows what coverage you're in or knows that you're blitzing, that's a huge advantage. So, I would love to see it. There isn't a defensive coach in the league that wouldn't want to see us get a headset." ... Former Buffalo running back Willis McGahee weighed in on the Bills' Kevin Everett, an ex-University of Miami teammate, following the tight end's catastrophic spinal injury. "My hat goes off to him," McGahee said. "I'm sorry for what happened to him. In football, anything can happen."

Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times and the Annapolis Capital.

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