Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Kyle Boller Placed on IR, End of Boller Era in Baltimore

Well, good ol’ Kyle Boller is out for the season, likely ending his time with the Ravens. He was signed to a one-year extension earlier last season in the hopes that he might, if need be, quarterback this team while Joe Flacco waited in the wings. In fact, even on this blog (namely, me) we dismissed Flacco completely from the quarterback discussion. Oh well, that is why I’m not the coach. And because I enjoy my sleep, something Coach Harbaugh isn’t getting a lot of with his most “experienced” quarterback on IR.

However, we need to stop and breathe a little bit before we lament how bad a loss this really is. Yes, Kyle was our most experienced quarterback. But experienced in doing what? Playing badly. Experience is worth nothing if it only leads to playing poorly. Hell, we can get a quarterback with poor decision making and a huge arm anywhere (I believe that’s Jeff George on Line Two). Todd Bouman, signed to replace Kyle Boller (and Troy Smith, and in some ways Steve McNair), will probably be as serviceable as K.B. once he gets a few weeks in the offense. Besides, once Troy is in playing shape again he will be the backup (and possible starter by Week 4 at the least). K.B.’s loss is saddening for a fan base that had such high hopes for him (I bet a friend back in 2003 that he would go to a Pro Bowl in his career, and I am hoping it’ll still count if I buy Kyle a ticket to the game one day).

But you do have to feel sorry for Kyle himself. The Tuesday before the opener back in ‘03, Brian Billick anoints Boller with the starting job despite a lack of meaningful time with the first team offense and transitioning from a Tedford style at Cal that has nothing to do with an NFL offense. Not only that, he gets thrown into the fire against the Steelers, who boasted one of the most vicious blitzing defenses at the time (even better than today’s model), and simply pasted Boller to the ground. And there he lay for most of his rookie season. Development, learning the offense, and adjusting to the game were tossed out the window- Kyle was just trying to stay alive. And as such, he plays about as well now as he did then. Kyle is a bad quarterback- but some could argue that the Ravens helped make him that way.

Not only that, you cannot find a nicer fellow than Kyle Boller. Always polite to the media, always with a positive attitude, always willing to make “next year” the better year. Sure, his teammates never really bought into him- I once spoke with an agent who represented several Ravens at the time back in 2006 who said to me that the players thought he was incredibly friendly and a great guy to talk to, but they never felt he could run a high caliber NFL offense. Well he never did, and his time in Baltimore is all but over.

The Ravens may have made the same mistake with Joe Flacco, but this time it may be more out of necessity than desire (infected tonsils?! Really?!). If you ask me, they made the same mistake drafting Flacco that they did when they drafted Boller, but that is another story (a big arm and bravado does not a quarterback make). Joe Flacco will be starting for the Ravens, and Harbaugh, Cameron and others can only hope that somewhere behind the devastated and harried offensive line, staring out at makeshift tight ends and not-ready-for-primetime receivers is a quarterback who can learn enough about the game to be good next season or the season after.

Kyle Boller might be the closest thing to a tragic hero we have had in the young history of the Ravens franchise. He now has the sour displeasure of getting to watch as his heir apparent is shuffled around the mines of coaching errors and mental mistakes that he was so unlucky to expose.

Photo Credit: AP Photo

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