First Look: The Baltimore Ravens

First Look: The Baltimore Ravens

Kyle Boller will start for the Ravens against the Seattle Seahawks despite suffering a mild concussion, coach Brian Billick said. Boller was knocked out in the fourth quarter of Sunday's 22-16 loss to the Miami Dolphins and complained of blurred vision. He still had a headache Monday, according to Billick.

But the Ravens indicated that Boller should recover for Wednesday's practice and will get the nod over backup Troy Smith. "We're going to continue to take the tact that we're going to win every week," Billick said. "Kyle played very well and deserves the opportunity to grow. In my opinion, Kyle clearly gives us the best chance to win the game, although we're prepared to go with Troy if that presents itself."

In Sunday's loss, Boller completed 10 of 19 passes for 159 yards while Smith was five of 11 passing for 49 yards.

Billick was complimentary of Smith's athleticism, strong arm and composure. Billick said he thinks Smith would be mentally ready to handle the challenge if the Heisman Trophy winner had to start. "Troy is a confident young man," Billick said. "No matter what happens, I think he'd be very resilient."

Meanwhile, in other injury news, linebacker Ray Lewis is expected to play after missing most of the second half with a dislocated finger on his left hand. Lewis likely will play with a splint. Billick also refused to rule out tight end Todd Heap and cornerback Samari Rolle.

Heap has missed most of the season with a hamstring injury, and Rolle still has his shoulder in a sling.

"Until we put them on IR, we're hoping that there is some opportunity to play," Billick said. "They want to. We've had those discussions with them, 'Look we're at that point in the season: 'Do you think you just want to go on IR?' And neither one of them are at that point. They want to play the last two games. Right now, that's the way we'll proceed."

NOTES, QUOTES

--The Ravens surprisingly had to rely on Willie Gaston and Nick Greisen, two players who weren't on the team's 53-man roster to start the season. Gaston made his first NFL start because of injuries to cornerbacks Samari Rolle and Chris McAlister, and Greisen came in after linebacker Ray Lewis went out with a dislocated finger in the third quarter. "I guess from the day I came on this team, I knew I had to be ready to go," said Greisen. "Maybe some people think it's a cliche when you say you're one play away from being a starter, but it's not."

--Yamon Figurs wasn't just a kick returner against Miami. He received a good amount of playing time on offense as part of the Ravens' four-receiver formations. On the first possession, Figurs caught a 36-yard pass from Kyle Boller to set up Stover's first field goal. It was the first career reception for the third-round draft choice out of Kansas State. "It was like some of the plays we do in practice," said Figurs, who returned a kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown the previous week against the Indianapolis Colts and had a 75-yard punt return for a touchdown earlier in the season against Arizona.

--Rookie linebacker Antwan Barnes had a successful homecoming of sorts. A fourth-round pick out of Miami's Florida International, Barnes had one sack and two quarterback hurries. "You can have all the sacks in the world, but you've got to come out with a victory," Barnes said.

PLAYER PERSONNEL NOTES

--QB Kyle Boller will remain the Ravens' starting quarterback, coach Brian Billick said. He was knocked out in the fourth quarter with a mild concussion, but the Ravens believe he will recover to practice Wednesday.
--QB Troy Smith will remain the Ravens' backup quarterback but there is a chance he could play Sunday. Kyle Boller is not at full strength after suffering a concussion, which means Smith might have to replace him at some point.
--LB Ray Lewis is expected to play after dislocating a finger on his left hand. He didn't play most of the second half but the Ravens believe he will be able to play with a splint.
--TE Todd Heap still hasn't been placed on injured reserve, which means he might have a chance to play in the final two weeks. He has missed most of the season with a hamstring injury.
--CB Samari Rolle has his shoulder in a sling, but coach Brian Billick did not rule him out for Sunday. Rolle has told the coach that he still wants to play.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

REPORT CARD VS. DOLPHINS

PASSING OFFENSE: C -- Kyle Boller played well, especially on third downs. But he didn't get much time behind an offensive line that allowed four sacks. When Boller suffered a mild concussion, Troy Smith came in and made some plays with his legs. He still isn't ready to start.

RUSHING OFFENSE: B -- Willis McGahee rushed 29 times for 104 yards, carrying the Ravens for most of the game. He still surprises defenses with his power between the tackles. By the middle of the fourth quarter, McGahee and backup Musa Smith were dominating the game.

PASS DEFENSE: F -- The Ravens allowed Cleo Lemon to get his first NFL win. Lemon threw for 315 yards against a banged-up secondary. But even with rookie Willie Gaston making his first start, the Dolphins continually picked on veteran backup Corey Ivy. The Ravens never got any consistent pressure on Lemon.

RUSH DEFENSE: A -- The Ravens were once again tough but it didn't take too much of an effort against third- and fourth-string running backs. The Ravens didn't give up a run longer than eight yards. Defensive tackle Kelly Gregg was the most dominant player on the field with 11 tackles.

SPECIAL TEAMS: D -- Matt Stover missed a 44-yard field goal that would have won the game in overtime. He had a 50-yarder blocked before halftime. The Ravens contained Ted Ginn but failed to spring their rookie returner, Yamon Figurs.

COACHING: B -- Brian Billick is taking some heat for not going for the win on fourth-and-goal. But he made the right move by going for the field goal and sending the game in overtime. Billick had a solid game plan that revolved around McGahee.

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