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Smith Finally Gets His Chance to Start
When San Francisco 49ers starting quarterback Alex Smith was ruled out of Sunday’s matchup against the Denver Broncos, Head Coach Mike Singletary took a gamble by naming an unexpected replacement.
Instead of going with David Carr, the team’s No. 2 quarterback, Singletary called up third-stringer and former Ravens quarterback Troy Smith.
Smith will finally get his chance to prove to doubters that he can be a starter in the NFL. And he will get that opportunity on an international stage in London.
“He hasn’t even taken any reps with the offense yet, which I find pretty interesting – any of the 49ers reps, he’s been doing scout-team stuff – so for him to start that’s pretty crazy. That should be interesting to watch, but at least he’s getting another opportunity.”
“This is a perfect spot in San Francisco for Smith. The 49ers are 1-5, have nothing to lose and are a dark horse right now to reach .500 and maybe qualify for a playoff spot. … At this point, why not give him a chance?
“Smith brings a little bit of a swagger and a strong arm to the 49ers. He’s very mobile and I think he can make some plays. I’m not sure even he knows how well he can read defenses. Getting the timing down with the receivers will be a little bit of a struggle, but Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree will bend over backwards to try to make him successful.”
Prior to Week 1, Baltimore had a 54 percent chance to win the division and a 79 percent chance for a playoff berth.
Seven weeks later, the Ravens have a 5-2 record, improving the likelihood of post-season play. However, the Pittsburgh Steelers have performed better than most predicted and have hurt the Ravens’ hopes of winning the division.
Now, the Ravens are only 47 percent favorites to win the division, but they have an 82 percent chance for a playoff berth. The purple and black are projected to win 11 games.
Meanwhile, the Steelers are now favored, with a 53 percent chance, to win the AFC North.
Ravens in an Identity Transition?
After Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome made several big acquisitions for the offense during the offseason and all signs indicated that Flacco would be primed to take another step in his young career, many believed the offense would finally surpass the defense during the 2010 season.
If anyone has forgotten about those preseason suspicions, CSNBaltimore.com’s John Eisenberg says that the game against the Bills was a reminder that the transition may be under way.
“Suddenly, the defensive coaches are looking at a long list of problems – the pass rush, the run defense, the secondary, shoddy tackling. Meanwhile, after averaging just 15 points in the team’s first four games, the offense has gone over 30 in two of the past three, putting up 37 on Buffalo and 31 on Denver (and dominating New England for three quarters before faltering late).”
After his worst game as a Raven, cornerback Fabian Washington’s stock is down and the Ravens’ pass rush is plummeting with him, says James Walker. On the flip side, linebacker Ray Lewis’ stock is on the rise after recording 15 tackles, a sack and a crucial strip in overtime that set up Baltimore’s game-winning field goal Sunday. [ESPN]