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  1. #1

    Wink Who woulda "thunk": Billick OK with platooning QBs



    Washington Post:

    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've still got some doubts after that 4 turnover start, but ... if this approach works: great! Coaches bring in change of pace RBs -- why not change of pace QBs? McNair throwing short stuff, Boller going medium to long. The last time I remember a successful QB platoon approach was the Redskins of the early 70s (Kilmer & Jurgenson).

    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).




  2. #2
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    Re: Who woulda "thunk": Billick OK with platooning QBs

    The problem is that both Mcnair and Boller throw the short passes. It's just the way the offense is. If you bring Kyle in to throw the medium and long passes, teams are going to catch on to what you're doing and it's not going to work. We're better off sticking with one QB IMO. Now who knows if that's Boller or Mcnair? Obviously Mcnair is not 100% healthy right now. As long as he keeps playing with this groin injury he will never be 100%. I say let Mcnair rest for at least this week. Give Kyle the start in Cleveland and go from there. I'm starting to think that this injury to Mcnair is going to stick around with him all season.




  3. #3

    Re: Who woulda "thunk": Billick OK with platooning QBs

    I really can't understand why people insist on this idea that the offense is all short passes with McNair and medium and long with Boller.

    Newsflash.

    We run the same offense with both QBs.

    PP




  4. #4

    Re: Who woulda "thunk": Billick OK with platooning QBs

    Quote Originally Posted by Mista T
    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).
    I think one thing we can all agree on is that McNair/Boller is a better combination than Tony Banks and Stoney Case.

    I'm not reallly crazy about the idea -- if McNair is still bothered by the groin, why play him at all? Give him time to heal if he needs it. And if he's healthy, I don't think pulling him out of the game if he's playing well is such a great idea.




  5. #5

    Re: Who woulda "thunk": Billick OK with platooning QBs

    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.
    Pay close attention to that statement. I very well could be way off base on this, but I am starting to believe more and more that something else is happening here. While some people said Boller resigned here because he'd never get signed elsewhere, I thought he signed here because he was told he'd get one more shot at the starting job because they thought they saw the improvement.

    I think Billick wants to give Boller that chance to prove he can start, but do it in a very controlled environment. I really believe this team did not give up on Boller and what you're starting to see is Kyle being tested. Especially after the situation Sunday.

    Again, I could be way off (and I'm sure the usual suspects will say so). But I am beginning to firmly believe my "turn back the clock" theory more and more.




  6. #6

    Re: Who woulda "thunk": Billick OK with platooning QBs

    I'm not big on the closer idea. this isnt baseball. Billick should stick with a starter, be it Boller or Mcnair because late in the year (and hopefully in the playoffs) we will need to have a qb who is ready to play from start to finish. Now if this method is going to be in effect for only a few weeks, then its brilliant because it keeps our qbs healthy and sharp but at some point at least one of them needs to have a few games under their belt when we get deeper into the season.

    The main draw back to this closer idea is if Boller gets a nagging injury and he is hampered by it throughout the rest of the season, you put the team at risk. What if Boller gets a groin injury and he cant throw straight in a few games. In a way you're letting both of your QBs take shots when they shouldn't.


    At this point Boller is able to start and be productive. There is no denying this. In his recents games his performance is making many forget his early problems. However At this point he is coming along so lets not ruin the maturity and continue to let Boller earn to learn. He can only get better, right?

    As long as Steve Mcnair is still able to go, he should start. He's done nothing to lose his position. I tend to agree, this MFer is fragile, and I dont know how much longer he can hold up. We should ride him for as long as we can. When he is completely broke down, Then is the time Boller can come in and Shine.
    WOW! I feel so fortunate that the Ravens did what they had to do to make this happen. Thank you. My Heart is with the Raven....My Heart is with Baltimore and its great fans. What can I say. Here We Go!!! --Ray Lewis
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  7. #7
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    Re: Who woulda "thunk": Billick OK with platooning QBs

    Stupid idea. I'm sorry. Good teams have a field general at QB who can take charge, and who the rest of the offense knows is in charge. Switching up like that is just a lightning rod for controversy and locker room dissent. McNair is the starter, and nothing in his performance against the Cardinals should have changed that. He played fine (as did Boller).

    But Billick needs to pick one or the other to start. This is ridiculous.




  8. #8
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    Re: Who woulda "thunk": Billick OK with platooning QBs

    Hey let's just throw Mark Clayton and Troy Smith into the backfield for some zone reads for shits and giggles.




  9. #9
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    Re: Who woulda "thunk": Billick OK with platooning QBs

    I don't think Billick nor many of us thought the Ravens defense would let Ariz. back in the game. Up 23-6, it made sense to rest McNair as he was limping (I could see that from the upperdeck) for the fourth qtr and give Boller some reps. What is Billick supposed to do when suddenly the Cards are back in the game? Take Boller out? This would create more controversy by suggesting that he doubts Boller's ability when in a critical situation. He was really in a "no win" situation here. I think he had to go with Boller and lucky for all involved Boller handled the situation. Now he has "inherited" a quarterback controversy but with two quarterbacks with about the same ability as far as winning games, how could he avoid it?

    I imagine Billick is ripping Rex Ryan a new one at thia point for it was really the defense letting down that has caused this "controversy". If the defense continues to dominate and the Ravens win 23-6, no one would question Billick replacing McNair.








  10. #10
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    Re: Who woulda "thunk": Billick OK with platooning QBs

    If McNair wasn't healthy we shouldn't have played him in the first place. I know he is a warrior, but Kyle has been playing well lately and he tradionally plays well at home. There was no need to rush Steve back.

    That said I am only ok with this platoon approach if we are winning handily, like we were in the last game. College teams often put in their younger players in these situation to get them experience and save their starters from needless hits.

    Kyle is playing really really well right now, but I'm still so gun shy when he is in that I'm not ready to jump back on the bandwagon. I never really recovered from the roller coaster ride in 05 where he melted down in Denver, looked like Superman against Green Bay and Minny, and then laid an egg in Cleveland to end the season. I'm hardly a hater, and I really hope Kyle has turned the proverbial corner because it would be fantastic for this team. But like someone else said I don't want to rush Kyle back into a starting role until he has fully matured. Lets not mess this up twice.




  11. #11

    Re: Who woulda "thunk": Billick OK with platooning QBs

    I don't think we have a QB controversy just yet. Steve McNair is the starter. As pointed out he hasn't done anything outside of injury to lose the starting job. And let's be real, McNair was sharp on Sunday. So I think that in the mind of Billick, McNair is still the starter.

    I think all this looks to next year. Boller gets playing time to continue to mature his on-field presense, and it helps McNair stay fresh and healthy so that when the playoffs roll around, we can rely on him being good to go. And then next year the Ravens can revisit the Boller starting thing. And then maybe we don't have to draft another project QB.

    I don't think it's a controversy. I think it's a luxury. We have two capable starting QB's what we can interchange when needed. 95% of the NFL doesn't have that right now. A couple of teams do, and we're one of them. But McNair is the starter, he should remain the starter. Period.




  12. #12

    Re: Who woulda "thunk": Billick OK with platooning QBs

    Quote Originally Posted by StingerNLG View Post
    I don't think we have a QB controversy just yet. Steve McNair is the starter. As pointed out he hasn't done anything outside of injury to lose the starting job. And let's be real, McNair was sharp on Sunday. So I think that in the mind of Billick, McNair is still the starter.

    I think all this looks to next year. Boller gets playing time to continue to mature his on-field presense, and it helps McNair stay fresh and healthy so that when the playoffs roll around, we can rely on him being good to go. And then next year the Ravens can revisit the Boller starting thing. And then maybe we don't have to draft another project QB.

    I don't think it's a controversy. I think it's a luxury. We have two capable starting QB's what we can interchange when needed. 95% of the NFL doesn't have that right now. A couple of teams do, and we're one of them. But McNair is the starter, he should remain the starter. Period.
    I agree 100%

    We are focusing so much on this and meanwhile our defense has surrendered 2 big 4th quarter leads, AT HOME, in back to back games.

    My worry lies there.

    Not on the QB forum.

    PP




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