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News » Baltimore Ravens Inside Slant 2008-09-09

Baltimore Ravens Inside Slant 2008-09-09

Baltimore Ravens Inside Slant 2008-09-09
A day after leading the Ravens to a 17-10 season-opening victory, rookie quarterback Joe Flacco received his reward.

"Flacco will be the starter this week," coach John Harbaugh said at Monday's news conference.

The 18th overall pick in the Ravens' draft, Flacco was rushed into the starting role because the team's other quarterbacks -- Troy Smith (tonsil infection) and Kyle Boller (season-ending shoulder injury) -- were sidelined with medical issues.

In his NFL debut, Flacco was 15-for-29 passing for 129 yards. He ran for a 38-yard touchdown and provided the key block in the Ravens' other touchdown.

Harbaugh would not say whether Flacco would remain the starter for the rest of the season.

"None of us have a crystal ball," Harbaugh said, "but he'll be the starter against Houston."

If the Ravens want to have success against tougher defenses than the Bengals, their rookie quarterback has to keep managing the game like a veteran. Unlike many quarterbacks making their NFL debuts, Flacco never put the Ravens in a position to lose the game, finishing with no turnovers and no sacks.

He was the only NFL quarterback who started and finished a game on Sunday that accomplished this feat (Philadelphia's Donovan McNabb didn't have a turnover or get sacked but he was rested late in a 38-3 rout of St. Louis). Last season, there were only two games where a Ravens starting quarterback had no turnovers and no sacks.

"I think he had already earned a lot of confidence because of the way he had conducted himself and the way he prepared," Harbaugh said. "Our guys were not surprised by the way he handled himself. But certainly by winning the football game, the players were excited for him."

But the Ravens didn't forget that Flacco is a rookie.

"In true NFL and Ravens fashion, he was brought down to earth by the players on a regular basis today," Harbaugh said. "They were letting him know that it's a team game. He's receptive to that because that's the kind of guy he is. He had a lot of fun with it."

Flacco continues to impress the Ravens' coaching staff and players with his poise.

There were times he could have gotten frustrated, from Todd Heap's early fumble to a handful of dropped passes. But Flacco remained composed and didn't force passes. This is important for the Ravens because offenses often take their personalities from their quarterbacks.

"I would say there are a lot of things he did well but nothing that surprised us," Harbaugh said. "You watch him in practice and in the preseason games, we kind of expected him to do the things well that he did.

"All of us had the question mark: Would the game be too fast for him the first game? And it wasn't. That was a good thing to see."

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: September 9, 2008

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Brendon Ayanbadejo Name: Brendon Ayanbadejo
Position: LB
Age: 31
Experience: 6 years
College: UCLA
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