Forty-eight hours before the Ravens take on the Atlanta Falcons at M&T Bank Stadium, the mystery under center still isn't solved.
Troy Smith is still fighting a viral illness and Kyle Boller is still nursing an injury to his throwing shoulder, which leaves Joe Flacco as the only Baltimore quarterback still healthy.
Boller, who had an MRI on the right shoulder Tuesday, is all but ruled out of the preseason finale, and head coach John Harbaugh said his decision between the last two signal-callers could carry on until kickoff.
It all hinges on whether Smith – and the antibiotics he's currently taking – can overtake his illness in time.
"I think we'll know before the game, but it could go up to the game," Harbaugh said. "It just depends on how fast [Smith] gets his strength back. You'd love to be able to predict it and say 'Hey, we know what's going to happen,' but there's just no way to know.
"We want him to play and he wants to play."
If not Smith, then it will be Flacco making his second start of the preseason.
And even though the backup situation against Atlanta could be called cloudy at best, Harbaugh shot down the idea of bringing in another arm just to make it to opening day (Sept. 7).
"We are not going to bring anybody in for this game," Harbaugh stated.
The possibility of an extra signal-caller for the season is another story, and an open-ended one at that.
"We will have to see," he continued when asked about adding another regular-season quarterback. "We will have to see where Troy [Smith] and Kyle [Boller] are. We need three quarterbacks, obviously."
After spending Monday recovering at home, Smith visited team headquarters Tuesday to attend meetings, but he was too drained to even attend practice.
Boller wore a baseball cap and sweat pants on the field, but didn't make one throw. He was limited to passes of 20 yards or less Monday.
Edwards Loss Hurts
The Ravens had to make some tough decisions in trimming their roster from 80 to 75 players, the most prominent of which was placing defensive tackle Dwan Edwards on Injured Reserve with a back issue.
Edwards, a second-round draft pick in 2004, was a key member of the defensive line rotation. Coming off a career year when he posted a personal-best 58 tackles while filling in for four-time Pro Bowler Trevor Pryce, Edwards showed promise of building on that momentum in 2008.
"Dwan Edwards is a big loss for us because he's a big part of our rotation," Harbaugh said. "He is really coming on as a football player. I think Rex [Ryan] and [Clarence Brooks] were really excited about him, so that was a disappointment. That hurt us a little bit."
Edwards' ailments were discovered during a routine MRI when he felt pain during the Ravens' preseason contest against the Minnesota Vikings two weeks ago.
"Dwan had an ongoing thing where he was feeling a little bit of tightness there," explained the coach. "They did an MRI just as a precautionary [measure] and they caught something, which is really fortunate, and I think a great job by our medical team.
"As a result, he's going to be out for the year until he can correct it. He'll play again, but it's going to take a good part of this year to correct it."
The Ravens also assigned defensive tackle Kelly Talavou (shoulder) and linebacker Terrence Melton (hand) to IR, while waiving wideout Darnerien McCants and tight end Aaron Walker.
Owning a 3-2 series lead, Baltimore faces the Falcons for the sixth time during preseason play. The Falcons have won the past two meetings, both played in Atlanta…The Ravens must cut the roster down to 53 players this Saturday, Aug. 30. In light of the looming cuts, Harbaugh thinks the intensity is amping up among players low on the depth chart. "I'm sure there's anxiety, because guys want to be here and they want to play on this team," he said. "And they've worked hard. There are a lot of guys who have earned the right to be a part of this team. You can only keep so many guys. So there's going to be a lot of competitiveness, and Thursday night is going to be a big night for a lot of these guys."…Atlanta will start rookie quarterback – and third-overall draft pick – Matt Ryan Thursday.