Boller will compete with Charlie Frye for the Raiders' third-string quarterback position.
Boller enters 2009 with a new team and plenty of reason to be optimistic about turning his career around. The Rams have their starter in place in Marc Bulger but he hasn't exactly been stellar the last few years and so the opportunity for Boller to try and prove himself again may not be too far off. As it stands now though, Boller will enter the 2009 season as the No. 2 QB giving him a good chance to learn offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur's West coast system without having the pressure to go out and perform at a high level right off the bat.
The Ravens QB position has been a disaster
since even their Super Bowl days. It hasn't
been for lack of trying. They invested heavily
in Kyle Boller, tried to move up in the draft
to take Byron Leftwich and then cast their lot
with Steve McNair. That's three strikes and
you're out for Brian Billick, who actually had a
reputation for being a QB-maker when he was
with the Vikings. There are no QB makers, only
good QBs. And those are impossible to identify
until NFL bullets are flying for real.
The Ravens reached for Joe Flacco after at
least trading down for once in the draft. He was
a second-round talent, say the draftniks. But
they don’t know who the good QBs are going
to be, either.
The Flacco projection is pure guesswork.
He has no big-game experience playing at
Delaware. He is 6-6, which is useful in seeing
over linemen. While he has a big arm, he isn't
athletic and played in a weak conference that
didn't even have NCAA-caliber speed on defense.
Now he's going to see NFL speed. That's
like going from the slow batting cages into the
Cam Cameron's offense will look to emphasize
the run. Boller will have a short leash
even if he's playing well. He wasn't awful last
year, though, and might be a short-term solution
if the matchup that week is right. But he
and Flacco are both waiver wire fantasy guys
Boller is guaranteed to see some playing time behind the oft-bandaged Steve McNair. However, with McNair's willingness to play through anything, Boller's contributions are usually limited.
Remember to take the loser of the position battles we slashed ahead of Boller and Kerry Collins. Boller is a stiff who plays the position in a senseless state. He can’t feel pressure and grinds his gears instead of seamlessly shifting attention to the myriad things a QB must account for pre- and post-snap. The 5.63 YPA on first down is terrible, as his YPA overall. His big problem is an inability to perform under hostile road conditions: 52 QB rating there last year, 59 in 2004.
Entering his third season in the league, Boller finally has some weapons to work with in the passing game. Not only will Pro Bowl tight end Todd Heap return after playing just six games last season, but Baltimore signed ex-Titan Derrick Mason and drafted Mark Clayton of Oklahoma in the first round. Throw in 6-6 Clarence Moore to help in the red zone and suddenly Boller’s best play won’t always be a handoff to Jamal Lewis. Make no mistake, with the Ravens reloading on defense, and Lewis out of prison, this still will be a run-first team that wins its share of low-scoring, line-of-scrimmage-controlling games. But when the Ravens need to throw, Boller will have quality options and given his strong arm, good feet and ability to throw on the move, he could turn the corner this season.
His receivers dropped almost 10 percent of his passes last year, but Boller had happy feet in the pocket, suffered from poor mechanics and generally looked lost. The Ravens were already poor at wide receiver and lost their best weapon to free agency. Boller would have to make a quantum leap to be even an average fantasy performer.
Selected with the 19th overall pick in the 2003 draft, Boller is expected to compete with last year's starter, Chris Redman, for the No. 1 job. Boller should eventually win the job, but it may not be until next season. He has the size (6'3", 234) and speed (4.59 in the 40) to be successful in the NFL, but he is a rookie quarterback on a ball control team.