Baltimore Ravens' quarterback watch

WESTMINSTER -- Ravens Insider's daily analysis of the Baltimore Ravens' quarterback competition between Kyle Boller, Troy Smith and Joe Flacco.

Kyle Boller

Positives: Settled down after a rough start. Regained composure and concentration for a series of completions. Muscles in those intermediate throws.

Negatives: Sacked on first full-squad rep by linebacker Jameel McClain. Intercepted by cornerback David Pittman and returned for a 40-yard touchdown on a pass meant for tight end Adam Bergen.

Stock: Spiraling downward again.

Troy Smith

Positives: Threw a good pass to Kerry Reed, but wide receiver didn't dive for the catchable ball. Building a rapport with Matt Willis and Marcus Smith downfield.

Negatives: Overthrew wideout Mark Clayton, but the errant pass was dropped by safety Haruki Nakamura. Seemed to be affected by the rest because many of his throws were too hard.

Stock: Down a little Sunday after a solid week overall.

Joe Flacco

Positives: Crisp pump fakes occasionally freeze the defense. Steps up in the pocket to avoid pass rushers. Superior height gives him ideal sight lines to deliver the football.

Negatives: Puts his receivers in some tight spots, needs to give them more time to gain separation. Becoming cognizant of pass rush and coverages, but isn't quite there yet.

Stock: Holding steady as he approaches his NFL debut Thursday night against the New England Patriots.

-- Aaron Wilson

John Harbaugh comments:

On the importance of communication in the defensive backfield: "On defense, when you talk more, that means you're anticipating better. So what you're doing is you're anticipating the motion of the shift before it happens, and then you're communicating it as it happens. So if there's quiet back there, that means that they're behind. So when you hear them talking, that means they're ahead of the process on defense, as far as recognizing the formation and the play and those kind of things." On rotating the defensive backs: "Yeah, we're rotating all of those guys right now. None of those guys is ahead of one of the other guys, and with Ed [Reed] out any one of those guys could go in with the first defense. They've all done a nice job with the first defense."

On the possibility of rookie RB Ray Rice starting on Thursday: "That's a possibility. Willis [McGahee] right now, we just need to get the fluid out of his knee and get that thing settled down a little bit."

On LB Terrell Suggs: "We have had contact with him. We're keeping him apprised of our install and our daily practices. He's in constant communication with our defensive coaches. We do have an idea of what he's thinking, but it's just an idea right now. We don't have any certainty. It really doesn't bother me. I don't think it bothers too many coaches nowadays because really, it's part of the game. Would you like to have every guy here? Absolutely we want to have every guy here, but the business side is the business side. This guy, Suggs, loves football. And he wants to be here, I know that. And I know he's worked himself really hard in the offseason to stay in great shape. He's got to take care of the other side the way he sees fit, but we want him here as soon as possible and we want to get him here."

On who benefited from the new weight training program: "I can't think of a guy offhand. I think as a group, they've all benefited. So many guys did a great job, but I can't think of one guy offhand. I can tell you one guy – David Pittman – who looks a lot bigger and stronger. So it will be interesting to see if it pays off in the way he plays."

On CB Corey Ivy's goals for the season: "He's the designated guy to trade jabs with Cam [Cameron] on the practice field. So that's one of his goals (laughter). He will be in the nickel and the dime packages, and he will be on special teams. He is a very capable backup if we lose a starter; he can go out and play. He's a good football player. Corey understands that whatever he can do to help us win is what he wants to do. He's got a great mindset."

On what is the most difficult part of evaluating the quarterbacks: "I don't think you pinpoint any one most difficult thing. It's just a matter of watching them and grading them. It's kind of a process that you go through when you're evaluating your guys. We never ranked anything out in terms of difficulty though."


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