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09-25-2007, 01:49 AM #1
Who woulda "thunk": Billick OK with platooning QBs
Billick Says He May Continue Platoon at QB
Boller's Play, McNair's Health Cited
By Camille Powell
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, September 25, 2007; Page E07
OWINGS MILLS, Md., Sept. 24 -- Kyle Boller's career as a Baltimore Ravens quarterback has taken several turns over the past five years, from first-round draft pick to oft-criticized starter to valued backup. Now, Boller appears to have a new role: late-game reliever.
One day after Boller replaced starter Steve McNair in the fourth quarter against the Arizona Cardinals and led the Ravens to a winning field goal, Coach Brian Billick said he has no qualms turning to Boller in late-game situations as McNair continues to recover from a strained groin.
There is no question McNair, who was injured in the season opener and missed the second game, is Baltimore's starting quarterback. But considering his age (34), the beating his body has taken over 13 NFL seasons, and the way Boller has performed this month, Billick said he would consider using a similar platoon even after McNair is healthy.
"It depends on the continuity of the team, what Steve's doing and, you know what?, I got the sense that Steve would be okay with that under the right circumstances," Billick said during his weekly news conference. "That's 20 fewer plays, five fewer hits, whatever it may be. There was a freshness to Steve's arm in the [Arizona] game, because of the week he had off previously. We're lucky to have that latitude with Kyle."
Boller showed signs of improvement during the final three games of the 2005 season, his last as a full-time starter, and was reliable as a backup last year. He's been poised and confident this season, nearly leading the Ravens to a last-minute comeback against the Bengals in the opener -- a potential game-tying touchdown pass to tight end Todd Heap was waved off because of a questionable penalty -- and then taking the Ravens past the Jets, 20-13. He is completing 64.7 percent of his passes, the best average of his career, and has thrown two touchdowns and one interception.
I have to hand it to Billick for imagination (although, to now reveal the truth: Greg & I gave Billick the exact same recommendation -- when we caught him walking over the Hamburg Street Bridge before an early '99 game -- about having Stoney Case come in as a closer for Tony Banks).In a 2003 BBC poll that asked Brits to name the "Greatest American Ever", Mr. T came in fourth, behind ML King (3rd), Abe Lincoln (2nd) and Homer Simpson (1st).