Ravens' quarterback watch

WESTMINSTER -- Our daily glance at the Baltimore Ravens' quarterback competition between Joe Flacco, Kyle Boller and Troy Smith.

Troy Smith

Positives: Displayed zip on his sideline throws. Escaped the pocket and showed some elusiveness in the open field.

Negatives: Intercepted by safety Dawan Landry when he threw it up for grabs to 6-foot-5 rookie wideout Ernie Wheelwright. Sometimes, he takes too many risks on deep balls.

Stock: Rising slightly, but his competitors had their moments, too.

Kyle Boller

Positives: Split the distance between Corey Ivy and Marcus Smith to hit Matt Willis deeper downfield. Decent command overall. Timing and accuracy were sharper than usual.

Negatives: Intercepted by Ivy after bobbling it three times when Wheelwright couldn't secure his throw. Still needs to do a better job of hitting his receivers in stride.

Stock: Slightly up as he had a positive workout overall.

Joe Flacco

Positives: Threw one of the best passes in camp with a well-timed touchdown strike to Marcus Smith, anticipated he would break free on a post route. Always believes he can make a play with his arm or his feet.

Negatives: Still overthrowing receivers due to his uncommon velocity. Needs a greater sense of urgency when pressured. Can't take so many hits in a real game.

Stock: Tilt this arrow skyward. The big rookie's spirits seemed buoyed by a recent visit from his family and girlfriend.

-- Aaron Wilson

Head Coach John Harbaugh

On whether the players get the afternoon off because they're beat up: "No, absolutely not. It's because guys have done a great job of working hard. You try to get a certain amount of work in. We have not built in any predetermined days off for a reason, because we want guys to understand that they don't have a day off. There is no day off that is given to them. They earn it. And they have earned it. These guys have worked hard – how many days now? I've lost count – morning after morning. They got out today and did the same thing, and they need the rest. We need to get them off their legs. We need to get them into the tub, get them home with their wives and their kids for 24 hours and come back and start again tomorrow afternoon. But I'm proud of them. I'm really happy with the way they've worked, and it's time now to give them an afternoon off."

On how hard the coaches are pushing the players: "I think we've kind of tapered off through camp. We push forward and pull back, push forward and pull back. Certainly, before this game, you're not going to be sprinting going into the game. We've got a lot of work to do between now and the game, but we consider the game to be another practice. So we're not trying to go into this game with our legs being 100 percent fresh. It's not going to happen. It's an exhibition game. It's a practice game, so to speak."

On how well he knows Patriots head coach Bill Belichick: "Coach Belichick is a guy I've known peripherally since he was at Cleveland and I was an assistant at the University of Cincinnati because his special teams coordinator was one of my best friends, Scott O'Brien, and I used to go up and visit and talk special teams. You guys know Scott. That's my guy. I love Scotty O'Brien. Then, coach Belichick being there, we met, not that we really got to know each other. So you watch a guy and obviously track his career, and you have an opportunity at times to see him at combines, see him at the Senior Bowl in Mobile ( Ala. ) and just get to know him a little bit and ask him a lot of questions. I've admired him for a long time. It's going to be fun. I don't know if ‘fun' is the right word. It's going to be an honor and a thrill to go up before the game to shake his hand and chat. I hope he talks to me."

On rookie free agent LB Jameel McClain: "Jameel has proven that he's a football player. He played linebacker and he played defensive end in college, so some of the techniques that coach [Greg] Mattison and coach [Mike] Pettine are working on are a little foreign to him. But, he's got natural football instincts. I'm really excited about his progress."

On whether the team is reaching his goal of being a strong team coming out of camp: "Absolutely. Our guys are doing what they need to do at this stage, which is, with their legs pretty much shot, they're fighting through every practice, and they're paying attention to technique and detail. So when you're tired, you've got to get your hips down, step in the right play, break and drive efficiently, for instance, as a defensive back. That's how you develop that muscle memory when you're fatigued. If you can do it when you're fatigued, you certainly can do it when you're fresh."

On the interior offensive line, consisting of C Jason Brown, G Ben Grubbs and G Marshal Yanda: "They're starting to look like they've got a chance to be a solid unit throughout the season. The calls and the communication have been really good, especially the last two or three days."

On whether the team has considered moving Yanda back to tackle: "I don't think that's where we want to go, especially with the fact that we're going to get our tackles back and Oniel [Cousins] is getting the work. He'll be back soon. He was getting the work up until the knee thing, and his injury is very minor. Then, bringing in [ Chad ] Slaughter, we've got some depth there now. It'll be good for us to see it shake out, see those guys get the reps and see if we can develop some depth so that we can keep Marshal at guard."

On what he has learned about the team during camp that he didn't previously know: "I think we've learned a lot about individual players, for the most part all positive. But you learn what guys do well and what they don't do well. I think Cam [Cameron] has a better understanding of what his guys can do and what situations he wants to put them in. Rex [Ryan] probably had a real good feel for his veterans, but we've got a lot of young guys on defense that he's getting to know. We wanted to do a good job as a staff of being humble enough as coaches to put our ego aside and put our players in position to do the things that they do well. To do that, you've got to find out what they do well. That's what training camp helps you do."

On what has impressed him about rookie RB Ray Rice: "I tell you what, taking every rep for three days in practice was pretty impressive, right? You guys saw that. I was impressed with the way he came through that. He learned how to pick up blitzes. He was dog tired, and he stepped in the A gap and hit linebackers in the face. That's not easy to do. Carry the ball when you're really, really fatigued and hold on to the ball and protect the ball when you're fatigued. Catch the ball. Run a nice route. He's done a nice job."


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