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The Sports Latitudes: (Mostly) Local Edition

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Moving on…

It appears that the Ravens are going to start Troy Smith this week against the Seahawks. Pretty hard to argue with that whether Kyle Boller is actually hurt or not.

With that said, why do so many people seem to believe that Smith is the answer? What is it about this guy that inspires so much hope? It can’t be his Heisman Trophy, which has proven over the years to mean very little. It can’t be his demonstrated ability to perform in clutch situations, with last year’s national championship game as evidence. It can’t be his physical tools, since those just aren’t that impressive (outside, I suppose, of some natural athleticism).

So is it simply that he isn’t Kyle Boller? Because, well, that’s just sad.

The contents of the Jason Grimsley affidavit (remember that?) have been unsealed. Add one more former Oriole to the tainted list in Pete Incaviglia.

Kris Benson has been out looking for a job.

I haven’t said much about my beloved Maryland Terps men’s baskeball program this year. If you’re wondering why, it’s simple: they’re depressing.

Last week’s home loss to Ohio University — not Ohio State, Ohio University — was just awful. Nothing much matters until the ACC season starts on January 12th at Virginia Tech, but so far they simply don’t seem like a legitimate threat.

Still, January 27th at home is the first Duke game. Circle it.

This is perfect. Just perfect.

We’ll be mostly active throughout the holidays, with maybe a slightly lighter schedule than usual. For those of you who don’t check in for awhile, The Loss Column sends our best to you and yours.

14 comments to The Sports Latitudes: (Mostly) Local Edition

  • random dude

    My take on the Boller/Troy Smith thing (let me know what you guys think):

    I don’t THINK Troy Smith is the answer. I don’t THINK he will ever amount to anything in the NFL. I understand that many Heisman trophy winners amount to nothing. I can’t tell you for sure that he will be terrible, however.
    We’ve watched Boller for 5 years now. He was the starter for the first 3 years and got hurt 2 of those 3 years. He was not impressive when he was a starter having QB ratings of 62.4, 70.9, and 71.8 in each year. I think that 80 is about average. We were then told that he was rushed and would be good if he stood on the sideline for a year with the clipboard in his hands. Well, he got his chance this year, was bad (QB rating of 75.2), and got hurt again. The guy wasn’t a winner in college. He had one good year (his senior year). He isn’t a winner now. Looking at his split stats he’s average at home (80.8 QB rating) and TERRIBLE on the road (62.1). Off the top of my head, I believe the last game he won on the road against a .500+ team was against the Jets in 2004 (the game that Herm Edwards lost with worse clock managing than even Billick could display). The offensive line does not get up to play for him, and none of the players have any faith in him. He has zero pocket awareness and walks into pressure. I KNOW Boller won’t be good in the NFL. I honestly don’t even like him as a backup since he can’t play on the road and gets no respect from other offensive players.
    I don’t think that it is sad that I’m excited to watch a young quarterback who could (all be it that its a huge could) be good in this league play instead of Kyle Boller. At the very least, we’ll know what we have for next year in Smith.

    Is it sad to be excited to watch some of the young pitchers for the Orioles pitch just because they’re not Kris Benson, Jaret Wright, etc.? Odds of them panning out are slim, but you’re still excited because they COULD turn out to be something.

  • neal s

    I think you make a good case, RD. When I said “sad” I was referring more to the woeful state of the Ravens QB situation as a whole. They started the year with an aging, injury-prone former star, a suspect backup, and a huge rookie question mark. Now that they’re down to Smith it really exposes how badly that position has been handled over the years.

    If Smith throws three picks and they lose 42-10, I say it’s time to take a look at Cullen Finnerty.

  • Big Ben's Motorcycle

    well you also thought matt leinart was going to be a great qb!

    troy smith has something that no ravens qb (besides mcnair and briefly dilfer) has… unquestioned leadership skills. just listen to the man talk, and people that know him talk about him.

    he had one bad game. thank god he did or the ravens probably would have missed out on the opportunity to see if he can be the next drew brees.

    i’m not saying he can overcome his physical limitations. but i like what i see when i watch him play. he looks like that guy that knows exactly what’s going on around him, unlike the kid that shall remain nameless (and hopefully jobless, sorry kid).

  • Andrew in Rochester

    I agree with RD. We have to KNOW what we’ve got. Troy Smith could be another Derek Anderson for all we know. Of course, he could be another Kyle Boller. You just never know, and we have nothing to lose by finding out. I’m not getting too excited about him yet, but he is definitely more fun to watch than Boller or McNair have been – by far.

    As for the Terrapins, ay caramba, Neal. But just remember they’re young and raw and need seasoning. Kind of like every single sports team I root for, damn it.

    And RD, I’m positively stoked to watch Troy Patton and Dennis Sarfate, along with Loewen and Guthrie. And we all know how much fun Bedard is to watch, but if he’s not around I’m dying to see Adam Jones or Jay Bruce. Dying, because really good, can’t-miss youth positional prospects make baseball fun, like The Stick did.

  • Joe the Guy

    I’d rather watch the young kids battle against Potential than Benson and Jared Wright wrestle with Mediocrity…

    …like they’ve done for years.

    They are who we thought They were.

    It’s not sad to be excited about The Youth Movement.

  • Andrew in Rochester

    So, I’m hearing that the Mariners want Bedard pretty bad, but they refuse to part with Adam Jones or Brandon Morrow. Who do they think we’ll be willing to take for them to get one of the top 3 pitchers in the league? Maybe Horacio Ramirez, Richie Sexson, and 2 or 3 low level prospects will get it done? COME ON SEATTLE. COME ON. If they want to compete in any way with the Angels, they need better pitching than Carlos Silva, Felix Hernandez, Horacio Ramirez, Jarrod Washburn and Miguel Batista. That’s an overwhelmingly mediocre rotation.

  • steve

    I can’t say I’m excited for the Troy Smith Era in Baltimore – not because I don’t think he has the ability to succeed in the NFL, but because the situation he’s in now makes it unlikely for him to succeed. He’ll be playing behind a beat up, sub-par passing protecting O-line against two division leading teams. The Ravens will likely be playing from behind early in both games, and knowing Billick, he’ll have Smith dropping back a lot.

    That’s a tough situation to be in as a rookie, so I’m not expecting anything. I do think that Smith has the tools to succeed in the NFL – he showed significant improvement in each of his years at OSU. It’ll be an interesting end to the year.

  • random dude

    About Troy Smith: “When he came in, it was like a breath of fresh air,” Ravens guard Jason Brown said.

    I don’t think enough attention is payed to this statement. Boller has zero awareness in the pocket. That doesn’t help the offensive line. I mean they’d rather block for a rookie than a 5 year veteran. Our offensive line hasn’t looked very good, but I don’t think they’re AS bad as they’ve looked. I am really curious to see what they’ll look like w/ a mobile quarterback who appears to have some awareness back there. (I didn’t watch him in college, so I’m only speaking from the very limited sample size I’ve seen him in this year).
    To me the offensive line is the main thing to watch the next two games. We are very young there and I really hope that they come together and we don’t have to waste a high pick on a lineman in the draft when we really need to address the quarterback and cornerback situations.

  • KonaBoy

    Air, I know what you mean. I was just on an ESPN thread about the Josh Hamilton trade to Texas, I had Reds fans telling me that Bedard isn’t good enough for a 1-1 trade for Bailey. A PROSPECT. A F*CKING PROSPECT. Some people just don’t understand that in order to get something good you’ve got to give up some in return.

  • dan the man



    I hate Melvin Mora so much. And clamoring for that extension is one of my biggest regrets as a fan.

    Merry Xmas, O’s fans – so far it’s the 2007 Roster Minus Tejada for ’08.

  • Big Ben's Motorcycle

    to me the worst part of this season is yet to come if that’s possible. if the teams that need to win this weekend (cleveland and tennessee) do win, the ravens would have a chance to hand cleveland the division next week or more importantly screw pittsburgh.

    unfortunately it won’t happen with rolle and mccalister out, and possibly ray lewis. i would expect the same result we had in the monday night game. shame too because the steelers appear to suck pretty bad right now.

  • Big Ben's Motorcycle

    scratch that i mean cleveland needs to win out.

  • Andrew in York County

    Looks like the O’s are going to refocus on extending Bedard – good for us. If we can build around him, Markakis, and our young pitching (Guthrie, Liz, Loewen)…well, that’s not a bad start. Need some postional guys. Rowell and Wieters won’t be here for a while. But it’s really a pretty good start. I like it.

  • dan the man

    Don’t get me wrong – I’m not upset that we aren’t trading Bedard. I’m upset that none of these teams are offering up enough for it to be a good trade. Obviously, I love watching Bedard pitch and I am definitely not in favor of a bad trade just to make a trade. I’m just kinda pissed that the offseason is about to get real boring for awhile. And that Melvin Mora can’t just shut his mouth, or if he has to speak, then do it without the pissy adolescent attitude.