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Personal Competition


One week before first-round draft pick Joe Flacco joins the team during the Ravens' first mandatory minicamp, quarterbacks Kyle Boller and Troy Smith are doing everything they can to prove they're worthy of a starting spot.

But ranking a trio of signal-callers isn't the biggest challenge at this point.

First, the quarterbacks must master Cam Cameron's offense.

Over the initial two Organized Team Activities (OTAs), Boller and Smith are basically competing with themselves before worrying about outplaying their teammates.

"It's Troy against Troy, and Troy against operating our offense," said head coach John harbaugh. "And, it's Kyle against Kyle, and Kyle operating our offense. And just like it's going to be Joe against Joe next week.

"That's where we're at right now. We're building the foundation, and they've done a nice job."

In other words, Harbaugh wants to withhold judgement until everyone is on the same page, which will most-likely be in training camp. While he has been happy with the pace and tempo of each practice, Harbaugh knows he has and entire offseason to complete a thorough assessment of his entire roster until that time.

"In our minds, as coaches and scouts, we're definitely making evaluations," he explained. "You see what you see and you put values on what you see. But, you have to remember the game is not played in shorts; it's played in pads. You don't' want to rule anybody out or in until you put the pads on."

Both Boller and Smith have expressed optimism about working with Cameron, who coached an explosive San Deigo Chargers offense that finished first in scoring in 2006, third in '04 and fifth in '05.

The duo also has their eyes set on the training camp competition.

"I'm continuing just to grow and take it one day at a time," Boller said after Friday's practice. "I've been really busy with stuff, and I'm just trying to learn new things. If you can take something away from each day, it's going to make us so much better come training camp. Then, we can be at a full sprint ahead."

Said Smith: "There are definitely steps that you have to take. We've taken some positive steps, and sometimes we took some steps that weren't so positive. That's what minicamp is for - to iron the wrinkles out and get back into the swing of things."

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