Welcome to the first installment of EbonyBird.com’s 2010 Ravens Preview. We’ll start the preview at the quarterback position. For a rundown on how this preview will work, check out this introductory post.
The Ravens’ quarterbacking corps is arguably the deepest and most talented top-to-bottom in the NFL, with all three quarterbacks having at least 3 years of NFL experience and each of them having been successful starting quarterbacks at some point in their careers.
Read on for the full preview of the Ravens’ 2010 group of quarterbacks.
2009 Starter: Joe Flacco
New Players: Marc Bulger (Free Agency)
Losses: John Beck (traded to Washington)
Starter: Joe Flacco, 6’5”, 230 pounds, 3rd season in NFL-
Joe Flacco has become the golden boy of Baltimore in his past two seasons wearing the purple. He combines a big-oth of btime arm with great poise in the pocket and has shown a knack for staying composed in close games. As a rookie, you had to be impressed with his game management skills, as he led his offense downfield with more efficiency than Kyle Boller and even Steve McNair never had.
In his second NFL season, Flacco blossomed into a top-class passer. After shaving the messy parts of his famous unibrow, the former Delaware Blue Hen routinely eclipsed 300 passing yards in games and came painfully close to the 4,000-yard mark for the season, accumulating 3,613 yards through the air. Without any changes to the offensive personnel from his rookie season, the evolution from a game manager to an effective passer had to be attributed to Flacco’s excellent work ethic.
This season, the Ravens have fully invested in Flacco, bringing in weapons Anquan Boldin and Donte Stallworth to help the passing game, and drafting two tight ends in Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta who will give the quarterback more to work with. ESPN’s Ron Jaworski believes Flacco could be an MVP candidate this season, and Ravens fans are hoping that he will take another step forward after the successes of last season and help lead the team to Super Bowl glory.
The Backups: Marc Bulger and Troy Smith-
When you really examine the quarterback situation of many NFL teams, both of these guys could be starters for another team in the league. Bulger played 9 seasons with the St. Louis Rams, replacing future Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner as the starter. While his final seasons with the Rams were by all accounts, unsuccessful, as he had a 5-30 record his last three seasons at the helm in St. Louis, the experience he brings to the Ravens will prove to be invaluable as he helps Joe Flacco become the Ravens’ franchise quarterback. Beyond his experience, he is a proven insurance policy in case of an injury to Flacco.
Troy Smith was a Heisman Trophy winner at Ohio State, but because of his height (6 feet would be generous) and doubts about being a pro-style quarterback, he fell to the Ravens in the 5th round of the 2007 NFL Draft. He saw limited time as a starter at the end of the 2007 season, but was unable to win the starting job over Flacco in 2008 due to a severe case of bronchitis. Smith’s versatility and speed makes him a threat in the Wildcat fomation, and that was showcased last season when he threw a pass to Joe Flacco that almost led to what would’ve been an unforgettable touchdown. Smith is a professional, so while he may feel like he can start for a different team, he will get the job done with the Ravens this season and be a good, hard-working team player in practice and on the sidelines during games.
Watch out tomorrow for the preview of the Ravens’ 2010 running back corps.