The Baltimore Ravens are hoping rookie quarterback Kyle Boller‘s NFL debut as a starter Sunday against Pittsburgh goes smoother than John Elway‘s did under the same circumstances against the Steelers.
In his first NFL game two decades ago, Elway completed one of eight passes for 14 yards with one interception and was sacked four times before getting benched at halftime. Denver went on to win, but it took some time for Elway’s psyche to mend.
…The 19th overall selection in April’s draft, Boller is the first starter to emerge from the four-member class of first-round quarterbacks. He also is Brian Billick’s fifth different opening-game starting quarterback in five seasons as Ravens head coach. The turnover under center becomes even more remarkable when you count eight starts by Trent Dilfer in Baltimore’s 2000 Super Bowl season and 10 more by Jeff Blake after Redman (back) was injured early during the 2002 season.
Not counting Redman, it can be argued that Baltimore’s three other opening-game starters—Scott Mitchell, Tony Banks and Elvis Grbac—did little elsewhere after leaving the Ravens. But if Billick doesn’t strike gold with Boller, it’s fair to wonder whether the problem is the quarterback or the coach.
…Baltimore’s other first-round pick is developing much slower than Boller despite being selected nine spots earlier. Terrell Suggs has struggled in his adjustment from defensive end to linebacker and will only play in pass-rush situations at end against Pittsburgh.
—Alex Marvez, The South Florida Sun-Sentinel “Boller under pressure in Baltimore”
Kyle Boller spent 2003 – 2008 with the Ravens, slowed by injuries in 2003 & 2005, replaced by Steve McNair in 2006 & 2007, and losing a QB battle to rookie Joe Flacco before the 2008 season and landing on IR. He spent a season with the Rams and two with the Raiders. He signed with the Chargers after the 2011 season, but retired before the 2012 season began.
Suggs still plays for the Ravens, winning Super Bowl XLVII with the team. He is a five-time Pro Bowl selection and was the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2011. He holds the team record for career sacks.