Sunday, September 5, 2010

Ravens Part with Troy Smith -- Not Suprising When All Is Considered

The Baltimore Ravens cutting QB Troy Smith illustrates college success does not guarantee professional success.

On the surface, would not Troy Smith looked like a likely big stud in the NFL?

He played with distinction for one of the nation’s top programs winning the sport’s top honor the Heisman trophy in 2006. He was also the 2006 College Football Player of the year. In 2005, Ohio State lost two games, only one against Penn State that Smith started. He was the Offensive MVP in the Fiesta Bowl where Ohio State beat Notre Dame 34-20.

In 2006, he continued to wrack up the honors taking the Buckeyes to the National Championship game against the Florida Gators where he was no match for Tim Tebow’s theatrics and a powerful Florida defense, losing 41-14.

Would this not look like the ticket for NFL success?

Clearly all 32 teams realized his talents had significant weaknesses to effectively lead the NFL offense. He was drafted in the 5th round by the Baltimore Ravens. In his first season, 2007, speculation was the Ravens had a sleeper of a bargain. Fans wanted to see him in action as Steve McNair was injured and Kyle Bowler’s work was nothing short of a total failure. Finally, at the end of the season, Bowler was injured and Smith was in. He showed flashes of brilliance and true athletic ability. Going into the next season fans rallied behind Troy Smith to head the offense in 2008.

However, the Ravens drafted Joe Flacco, from Delaware to be their quarterback. On the surface, the choice of Flacco appeared like a less likely prospect playing for a team that was not even bowl eligible. In training camp, Bowler was injured. Smith was the heir-apparent at least for the season, but became ill elevating Flacco to the starter’s job which he has held ever since.

A certain breed of fan still lobbied for Smith every time Flacco faltered arguing what would one expect given their comparative college resumes; however, there are clearly qualities needed for an NFL QB Flacco has that Smith lacks, part of which is height, a rap against Tim Tebow, but does anyone remember Doug Flutie?

After two seasons with Flacco as starter and Smith as understudy, the Ravens realized they needed a true NFL QB to rely on should Flacco go down if they want to advance in the postseason. The Ravens picked up Marc Bolger, who became lost in the woods as the St. Louis Rams team became the rock bottom mess of the entire sport. Clearly, his recent record was not a reflection on his talents.

When it came to the final 53, Troy Smith would be the odd man out. He might catch on as a backup some place else, but his substantial ability might give him the option to retool for another position. He certainly gave the Ravens a spirited effort. There’s no shame of what he did while playing for the Ravens. Clearly, his audition in the 2010 preseason showed he was no longer needed for the Purple and Gold.

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