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Smith Makes Bid For Roster Spot

Troy Smith had his best career preseason game, but is he one of the 53 best?

Posted by Ryan Mink on Monday, August 30th, 2010 at 6:08 pm | Categories: Ryan Mink

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Quarterback Troy Smith had the finest preseason game of his career versus the Giants Saturday night.

But whether he makes it past the looming final cut and onto the roster may be decided by factors outside of his control.

Smith is one of many bubble players who could be affected by an increasing number of injured players – such as wide receiver Donte’ Stallworth – that have to be carried on the team. That is shrinking the number of available spots.

“The thing we have to decide across the board is, ‘Who are the best 53 players we have?’” Head Coach John Harbaugh said.

“Troy is our third quarterback. Obviously he’s played very well in the preseason, he makes plays. He does bring a unique ability; he gets out of trouble and makes plays with his feet and his arm. We’ve always liked Troy; he’s a good player.”

Harbaugh has carried three quarterbacks in each of his first two seasons, but the Ravens went with just two in 2006 with Steve MᶜNair and Kyle Boller.

Although Thursday’s fourth and final preseason game will provide Smith’s greatest chance to shine – he is expected to play most of the game – the fourth-year quarterback has done his part thus far.

Against the Giants, he notched preseason career highs in completions (8), attempts (11), yards (71) and quarterback rating (119.9) and finished off a 13-play, 80-yard march with an 11-yard touchdown to Marcus Smith in the fourth quarter.

Smith, who has been a constant figure in media trade speculation, adds another dimension to the Ravens’ quarterback corps with his scrambling. He ranks third on the team with 14 rushes for 41 yards and a touchdown.

Many of those rushing attempts came when Smith was flushed out of the pocket by pressure. But Saturday night, the backup offensive line held up better and Smith had more opportunities to show off his arm.

“Those first couple of games, everybody is still feeling their way out, and I think that’s what the preseason is for, and these guys are doing nothing but settling in on the offense and learning it,” Smith said. “It’s going to be fun to watch [this offense].”

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