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News » Baltimore Ravens Inside Slant 2008-09-25

Baltimore Ravens Inside Slant 2008-09-25

Baltimore Ravens Inside Slant 2008-09-25
This will be an unusual homecoming of sorts for Joe Flacco.

The Ravens rookie quarterback will make his first NFL start on the road at the place where he fled from in college.

Flacco, who transferred from the University of Pittsburgh after receiving a shot to start, will return to Heinz Field for the first time since 2004.

"It's kind of weird that my first start in Pittsburgh," Flacco said. "But I'm not really looking at that. It's an NFL game. It's Monday night, and it should be a lot of fun to go out there and play a division opponent."

Flacco has showed a lot of poise in starting 2-0 in his career, but he enjoyed playing in the coziness of M&T Bank Stadium.

This game will be different than anything he has ever experienced.

At the University of Delaware, Flacco never played in front of a visiting crowd of over 30,000 people. On Monday night, there will be double that -- 65,000 in black and gold -- looking to take Flacco off his game.

"I'm sure it's going to be very loud there, and we're not going to be able to hear very much," Flacco said. "NFL offenses deal with it every week, and that's what we're going to do."

This isn't new territory for the Ravens.

In 2003, Kyle Boller made his first start ever at Heinz Field. He completed 22 of 43 passes for 152 yards, throwing one touchdown and one interception. He was sacked twice.

Unlike Boller, Flacco has adjusted to the NFL with a couple of home games. Flacco, the 18th overall pick in this year's draft, has completed 58.3 percent of his passes, but he has thrown two interceptions and no touchdowns.

"We train our quarterbacks as though every practice is an on-the-road, in-division practice," offensive coordinator Cam Cameron said. "Playing at home, you should be able to handle things at home pretty efficiently. You're always trying to create the worst scenario you can."

Beyond the statistics, Flacco has immediately impressed his teammates with his composure.

He rarely shows any emotion, whether he's throwing an interception or running 38 yards for a touchdown.

That's why the players are confident that Flacco will pass this road test.

"I'm not worried about how Joe will do," receiver Derrick Mason said. "He's our quarterback. He's matured over the last two games as a quarterback. I think he's looking forward to going down there to Pittsburgh and playing in that environment.

"He's a guy that I think, from the last two games I saw him play and playing with him in the preseason, he's a guy that thrives on things like that. So I'm looking for him to go down there and do what he has been doing, and that is to help us win football games."

SERIES HISTORY: 26th meeting. Ravens trail series, 15-10. The Ravens are 2-6 at Heinz Field. Last season in Pittsburgh, the Ravens were blown out, 38-7, on Monday Night Football. It was the largest margin of defeat in the nine-year Brian Billick era. Steve McNair had the fewest yards passing in NFL history (63) by a quarterback that completed 13 passes. And the Ravens defense tied a team record with five touchdown passes allowed.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: September 25, 2008

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Samari Rolle Name: Samari Rolle
Position: CB
Age: 31
Experience: 11 years
College: Florida State
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