Baltimore Ravens' quarterback watch

WESTMINSTER -- Our latest deluxe edition of Ravens Insider's quarterback competition between Troy Smith, Kyle Boller and Joe Flacco.

Kyle Boller

Positives: Connected with wideout Darnerien McCants in stride over the middle. Improving his release point and mechanics.

Negatives: Nearly intercepted by third-string linebacker Robert McCune. Sacked by 340-pound reserve defensive tackle Kelly Talavou.

Stock: It wasn't a nose dive, but it wasn't a positive day overall.

Troy Smith

Positives: Flashed excellent mobility. Timing with Mark Clayton is progressing well.

Negatives: Couldn't elude Jarret Johnson or Dwan Edwards' pass rush and was sacked. Needs to square his shoulders when throwing on the move.

Stock: Tilting slightly upward.

Joe Flacco

Positives: Was the only quarterback to throw a touchdown in red-zone drills, lobbing a great pass to Derrick Mason, who outleapt Derrick Martin. It was one of his best throws of camp.

Negatives: Nearly intercepted by safety Jim Leonhard. Need to take full advantage of his superior sight lines.

Stock: Movin' on up to a deluxe apartment in the sky.

Head Coach John Harbaugh

On if he has decided when he will reveal the starting quarterback for Thursday's game: "Yes."

On when that would take place: "We'll let you know."

On if it would be today: "No."

On whether players were fresh after having two practices cancelled: "They were kind of fresh yesterday. Today, they came out, and they were a little tired. Their legs are tired, but they fought through it. Same principle: You fight through fatigue with good technique and attention to detail. That's how we get better."

On CB Samari Rolle rejoining the team: "The thing about Samari, he was in his uniform. He came in this morning. I think he had a 5:30 a.m. flight coming out of South Florida , and he was dressing for practice. Well, we had to give him a physical [first]. That's part of the process. He's got a couple things to do, but he'll be out there this afternoon. He's excited and ready to go."

On whether Rolle was is good spirits: "Great spirits, in terms of being back with his teammates. I think he's excited to do that."

On the plan for rotating players in the first preseason game: "We lay that out for every player. It's kind of by unit, but within each unit it's by individual players. You'll see units go in for a certain amount of time, but players within those units might go a little longer. Other guys might go a little shorter based on what that individual guy needs. The same thing for the quarterback. We have a plan, but you don't know in a particular quarter how many reps you're going to get. We've got a target for reps, and we'll see how it shakes out in the end."

On whether rookie T Joe Reitz would see any time at tight end: "It depends how fresh we are. I think we had three tight ends out there today. If we need Joe to do it, he can do it, but I think right now he's concentrating on tackle more."

On how happy he is with where the team is overall: "Where are we overall right now? That's the measuring stick you're not sure about. I'm pleased with the fact that we're as far along as we could've been at this point. We couldn't have worked any harder, couldn't have paid attention to detail any better. So, we're as far along as we can be at this point."

On how T Chad Slaughter is progressing: "He's done a nice job in pass protection. He's a big, long, rangy guy, and he does a good job in pass protection."

QB Kyle Boller

On his feeling about who would start at quarterback on Thursday: "I have no idea. I wish I could tell you, but I have no idea. I just come out here every day to practice – never knowing who's going to be the one, the two or the three – and get ready to try to have a great practice."

On the importance of getting reps while trying to learn a new offense: "It's really important anytime you can get out there and run the plays, regardless of who's out there. There will be times in the preseason I'm in there with all these guys, so it's just a matter of being able to go out there and execute. Being that we do get limited reps because there are three of us and we're splitting it up evenly, you've got to take advantage after practice and during practice of getting those extra reps."

On putting in extra work to stay sharp: "You can't simulate the team reps, obviously, but when you have problems in practice with certain routes, you can stay after and throw with the guys. [You] try and fine tune it so that when you get the opportunity the next time, you're able to go out there and execute it."

On opening the preseason against the Patriots: "They're obviously a great football team. It's going to be awesome just to play somebody besides our defense. That's going to be exciting to be able to go out there and just play football again, get out there in the game. I know it's preseason, but it's still a football game. It's important, and we've got a lot to accomplish. It'll be fun."

On his assessment of his own performance so far: "I'm pleased with how I've done. I feel like each day gets a little bit easier. My main thing is that the things I learn in each practice, they're not going to be perfect. There are going to be balls I throw that maybe I don't want to throw there, but as long as I can correct them after practice and move forward and continue to understand a lot of the offense, then I think I'll be going in the right direction. That's the main thing. Every day I come out to practice, there are certain things I want to work on and make sure that I go out there and execute."

On his goals for Thursday's game: "I hope the ball doesn't hit the ground. Move the chains, get a bunch of first downs and hopefully score. That's the main thing – score a lot of points. I don't know how long I'm going to be out there or when I'm going to be out there, but when I'm out there, that's what I want to do. I want to get the offense going, get in a nice rhythm, move the ball down the field and just go look sharp."

On whether he has a specific strategy for trying to win the starting job or if he is just seeing how it plays out: "The strategy is to do everything you can each day in practice to be the best player that you can be. That's ultimately what will get you to be the starter, if you're out there executing and doing the right things. I guess the answer to your question is a little bit of both."

On trying to establish a rhythm while splitting reps: "It's tough. I don't know if you've noticed, but on seven-on-seven, we alternate reps, so you've got to wait two then go again. You're not always going to be in rhythm in a game, and sometimes you have to pull yourself out of that. Sometimes, this is a good way of mimicking how the game is going to go, but I'd be lying if I said it isn't hard to get in a rhythm if you're not in there for 10-15 plays in a row. But that's what you've got to do right now. You've got to live with it."

On learning a new offense: "It's a constant process. There are so many little wrinkles here and there that might take a little while to learn, but the majority of the offense is in and I know it. I understand it, but it's a constant process. I'll continue until the end of the year to learn more and be more comfortable with it."

On whether playing a game will help him learn the offense better: "I hope I know it now pretty good going into a game, but like I said, it's going to get easier and easier each week. I'll feel more comfortable with it, especially when we're going against different opponents."

On how having a new coach and a quarterback competition affect his approach to the preseason: "Every time I'm on a football field, I want to play the best football that I can play. That ultimately doesn't matter if it's preseason, regular season or postseason. I'm trying to go out there and play the best I can. I want to be the best preseason quarterback. That's my goal, to be the best I can be. It doesn't matter which game it is."

On the difference between preseason preparations this season compared to previous seasons: "No, I couldn't really comment. It's going to be a game. Everybody's going to be out there fighting. As an offense, we're going to be playing as a team. We're trying to move the ball and score. That's what it's all about."

QB Joe Flacco

On how he feels about his upcoming NFL debut: "I don't know. I'm just trying to steel things up coming out here and practicing. In a couple days we'll be going up there to New England , and I'll be going up for the first time. It should be a lot of fun."

On what he has been working on: "I'm working on a lot of things. We've got a lot of routes in and things like that, so I'm trying to get more and more comfortable with them each day. That's what we are doing out here at practice. We're trying to take as many reps as we can so we're as comfortable as possible come game time."

On his mindset heading into the New England game: "I'm anxious. I think most people would be. It's the first time you get a chance to step on the field at an NFL level. That's a pretty big step and it's a pretty big accomplishment. I'm anxious to get it going and just see what it's like. My strategy is to go out there and play football the way I know how to and try to become as comfortable as possible with my teammates and with the offense."

On his comfort level with the offense: "I'm getting there. I'm getting more and more comfortable each day, but I wouldn't say that I'm comfortable with everything we do. But that's what practices are for and that's why we come out here and do this every day. It's definitely come a long ways. But more than that, it's really just getting comfortable with the routes. We trust our O-linemen to get the protections done. There are certain ones that we have to get used to depending on where they're coming from, but other than that I'm just trying to get comfortable with the routes and get to the point where I can go back there and play."

On how he may be evaluated in New England : "I really haven't been told anything about how I'll be evaluated from the game. I'm just expecting to go out there and play well. We'll see from there. It's not up to me to really worry about that. It's up to me to play the way I want to play and go out there and get comfortable."

On getting the first game out of the way: "It's the first game. I want to get the first game under my belt. I want to go out there and get rid of the first game anxiousness, and go out there and prove to myself that I can do it at this level."

On the possibility of getting hit: "That's definitely the case, but the last thing I want to do is think about that. You want to be quick but you don't want to hurt yourself. If you're thinking about that, that's what you're going to do and you're going to get yourself into trouble."

On his attitude: "I think I'm getting happier and happier, but like I said, I wish I'd be more comfortable. It's my first time in the offense and my first time out here with an NFL team in an NFL training camp. Each day I'm getting more comfortable, but it's going to take the rest of camp."

On the intensity of practice: "It's been good. It's still the NFL. It's still football practice. So, you come out here, you get on the field and you go play. You let everything take care of itself and after practice you go watch the film and you worry about things that you need to learn. Then you come back out here and get at it again and don't worry about it."

On how he's being treated as a rookie: "There was one dinner where [the veterans] made you go up there and sing, and I just kind of tried to hide under the table (laughter)."

QB Troy Smith

On his progress: "We, as a team and as an offense, have so far to go. My development is coming along but still, I've got a long way to go. This is an incredible offense and an incredible opportunity for this city. We're looking to win some games."

On the positives of camp: "Definitely some of the positives would be leading guys and stepping up into these crucial situations in practice that mean so much. The heat is an element of things working against us. The positives are us coming together. Offensively, I think we're doing incredible things coming together as a team and putting everything together."

On what needs to improve: "Some of the things we definitely hope to get better at. Learning this offense is where it starts. Defensive recognition is going to come because weekly, coach [Cam Cameron] is doing an incredible job of breaking down film for preseason; I'm looking forward to it."

On the quarterbacks' competition: "When you see your teammate doing well, you definitely have to give it up for him. Kyle [Boller] and Joe [Flacco] have done incredible things in practice, and the list goes on of guys who have done incredible things. But, we've got to be able to compile it day-in and day-out. On consecutive days, back-to-back, you just wish that everybody does incredible so the Ravens can do well."

On the prospects of him starting against New England : "It doesn't matter. This is preseason. There's a lot still to come out of this. I know that we're pretty much going to get about the same amount of playing time. The cards will fall whichever way they do, and hopefully our preparation will get us a win."

On the goals for the New England game: "We want to get a win. We're already being counted out in just a preseason game. That, at times, can work against you, but we're using that as a positive. We're going to step into the situation and go to New England and try to win that game."

On what he needs to continue to do: "Definitely, I've got to get better within the offense. There are so many things that I can learn that I'm still learning that are often on the table. I need to get a feel for this offense because it's a lot to handle. Definitely have to get into the playbook. Like I said, defensive recognition is imperative for quarterbacks at this level."

On learning the new offense: "At times it's challenging, but you learn the play as a concept. That's Cam 's biggest thing. You learn the concept and it's kind of like area codes. In that sense, we're trying to simplify it and just know the different numbered routes in the system. So we step up and even though there are different guys in there, they still know the concept. They still know what we want, so the timing should be there. But let's not take anything away from the defensive side of the ball; they're doing an incredible job of breaking things up."

On playing New England : "I don't want to take anything from the other 30 teams. Because everybody that shows up on Sunday is going to give it their all. I think New England is definitely an incredible franchise and they have some things to look forward to, but I'm more excited about the Ravens."


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