Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

12 Dec 2005

Boller Needs to Go

I really feel bad for Kyle Boller. Honestly. He seems to be a hard worker, says all the right things, and stays out of trouble (which apparently isn't all that easy to do in Baltimore), but he's just not a very good quarterback. He single-handedly willed the Ravens to defeat yesterday, throwing two ridiculous interceptions, and losing an even more ridiculous fumble. If he's cut after the season, I really think his NFL career might be over. Can you imagine a team giving him a shot to win a starting job? Me neither. For all the heat Joey Harrington and David Carr have taken over the years, they've got nothing on Boller. (free registration/bugmenot required)

Posted by: P. Ryan Wilson on 12 Dec 2005

37 comments, Last at 13 Dec 2005, 6:43pm by Tom Kelso


by James, London (not verified) :: Mon, 12/12/2005 - 10:58am

But he can throw 60yds through the goalposts on his knees, What more could you want?

by JonL (not verified) :: Mon, 12/12/2005 - 11:04am

I'm not sure his career is over, because teams are always looking for backup quarterbacks. He doesn't have attitude issues like Jeff George, so Boller will probably become a career backup.

by Whatever0 (not verified) :: Mon, 12/12/2005 - 11:39am

He'll probably be staying with the Ravens, at least as a backup. It's just so frustrating watching him, because he's so inconsistent. He'll make some great plays, and then some absolutely horrible ones.

He was horrible in Cincinatti, then just blew up and was the driving force behind 28 points. The touchdown throws to Mason and Heap were picture-perfect. He sucked for most of the game in Houston, then put it together on the last drive. He had some good throws yesterday, but the picks were inexcusable.

Boller's misfortune was starting on a team that's expected to win. He really hasn't been worse than Harrington or Carr, but he's been seen as holding his team back more. That's why he's villified.

by Harris (not verified) :: Mon, 12/12/2005 - 11:43am

Yeah, he's bad enough to be the Eagles backup next year.

by mawbrew (not verified) :: Mon, 12/12/2005 - 11:50am

Boller's play hasn't been good but he's shown just enough that Billick has been unwilling to go in another direction ('just good enough to get him cut and the coach fired' as a former Raven might say). Billick's unwillingness to add a legitimate vet QB has killed this team for the past two years. He was (IMO) overly concerned about a QB controversy and ended up with no QB.

I'm with Ryan regarding feeling bad for Boller. The media is on him like white on rice. Do the highlight shows get additional revenue for every Boller miscue they show or does it just seem that way?

by MRH (not verified) :: Mon, 12/12/2005 - 12:14pm

Has Brian Billick shown any ability as a head coach:

a. to identify talent in quarterbacks
b. to develop said talent?

by Shalimar (not verified) :: Mon, 12/12/2005 - 12:26pm

Can we ignore Billick forever if Boller goes somewhere else next year, wins a starting job and becomes a pro-bowl quarterback? If we can, then I will be a big Boller fan. Yeah, I know he has sucked, but maybe his problem is over-coaching.

I just figured out the answer to the question: no, because Billick will take credit regardless. Nevermind.

by JonL (not verified) :: Mon, 12/12/2005 - 12:33pm

RE: #6

I would say probably to (a) and no to (b). He's done fairly well with older quarterbacks not named Tony Banks. It could be that he expects too much from quarterbacks too soon for rookies/younger quarterbacks to really get a handle on what they're supposed to do and develop. It should be noted that Billick was a tight end, not a QB.

by ElAngelo (not verified) :: Mon, 12/12/2005 - 1:26pm

I suppose his tenure at Minny should be considered regarding his ability to develop QBs. Again, that indicates vets, not rookies.

by Hector, Paris (not verified) :: Mon, 12/12/2005 - 1:27pm

Isn't the TE the young QB's best friend ?

by pcs (not verified) :: Mon, 12/12/2005 - 1:30pm

I could see Boller's near future resembling Jeff Blake's recent past, which is at least better than getting run out of the league. If Craig Krenzel was able to find another spot on an NFL bench, there's gotta be room for Boller somewhere.

by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Mon, 12/12/2005 - 2:16pm

I'm not sure if being buried behind Orton and Grossman is that much better than being run out of league, other than financially.

by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Mon, 12/12/2005 - 2:17pm

Um, I'd like to buy an article, a "the", please.

by sweatervest (not verified) :: Mon, 12/12/2005 - 2:38pm

"Billick’s unwillingness to add a legitimate vet QB has killed this team for the past two years."

If it were that easy(hey talented QB, here's a roster spot on a bad team!) then this article wouldn't exist. I swear people act like you can pull good players out of nowhere at a moment's notice.

by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Mon, 12/12/2005 - 3:13pm

Sweatervest (#14 )--

The criticism here is not that the Ravens needed a top-flight quarterback, or even a great talent that needs development. They needed a starter who doesn't suck. Boller has sucked out loud, for far too long, for there to be any weird excuse about a QB controversy. The Ravens have managed to create controversy without even a single average QB on the roster.

Perfectly average QBs were avaiable, reasonably priced, in the off-season. Just like last season. The Baltimore brain trust neglected to sign any. Just like last season. Their big free-agent move? Sign another receiver for Boller and Wright to miss.

Anyone who wants the Ravens to win should have the tar warmed, feathers ready, and a rail out of town chosen.

by dave whorton (not verified) :: Mon, 12/12/2005 - 4:10pm

he will play somewhere next year because 1st round qbs always get a 2nd chance

by Theo (not verified) :: Mon, 12/12/2005 - 4:17pm

I agree to dave whorton.

Will it be the Bucs or the Lions.

by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 12/12/2005 - 4:31pm

I always was reluctant to really tear into Boller, since he'd been injured and he was young and you have to give young QBs time.

But I think its safe to say that he's played enough to show that he just sucks. He's VERY bad. The Ravens over the off-season picked up a playmaking WR, fired their O-coordinator, drafted a playmaking WR, and then turn around and become the offensive nightmare we've all seen this season.

Everytime the ball goes into the air, I look away. It's easier to assume pick instead of completion and I don't know how many times I've seen Ravens fans sigh in relief when he throws an incomplete pass.

Kyle Boller is BAD. This team WAS a QB away from a Super Bowl, but someone forgot to tell them that young QBs bust a lot and even when they don't, you're almost always sacrificing a season. The team NEEDED a free agent who could be average (Jay Feely, Gus Frerotte, Brad Johnson) while their defense was able to win games.

Their offense now is just so bad that its killing their defense and the team is just crap all around.

by mawbrew (not verified) :: Mon, 12/12/2005 - 4:35pm

Re: 14

Starshatterer pretty much covered my response, but FWIW here's a few additional thoughts.

1. The Ravens weren't expected to be a bad team. They were supposed to compete for the division. They shouldn't have had much trouble attracting a vet if they had been interested.

2. The Ravens have had plenty of chances over the past few years to add a vet QB (Griese, Fiedler, Ratay, Brad Johnson, Dilfer, Ferotte, Bledsoe, Garcia, Warner, Flutie, Holcombe, Collins, all changed teams during that period). The Ravens seemed to go out of their way to avoid showing interest in any of those guys because of their 'commitment' to Boller.

by Björn (not verified) :: Mon, 12/12/2005 - 4:53pm

I can't believe that Boller's fumble didn't get more airtime. It was certainly more hilarious than his second pick. I think that Mike Shanahan should have given Boller the game ball. There certainly wan't anyone on the Broncos roster that deserved it. Maybe Bradlee Van Pelt, for that cheeky run for a TD against KC last week.

The Ravens have 2 strong contenders for the 2005 Least Valuable Player award, but I think the LVP goes to Jamal Lewis. He really sucks.

by zip (not verified) :: Mon, 12/12/2005 - 5:04pm

Re: 18

drafted a playmaking WR

You really think a rookie WR makes a big difference to an offense?

by Justus (not verified) :: Mon, 12/12/2005 - 5:27pm

I would just like to point out that some people did think the Ravens were going to suck this badly. Before the season began I bet a friend $20 that the Ravens would finish under .500. He thought I was crazy. I'm thinking about how to spend his $20.

by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 12/12/2005 - 6:12pm

You really think a rookie WR makes a big difference to an offense?

In their first year they usually don't but they did draft him with high hopes. You don't draft 1st round WRs with the anticipation of them NOT being a difference in your offense.

by NF (not verified) :: Mon, 12/12/2005 - 6:21pm

Brian Billick's idea of putting a veteran QB on the roster was Kordell Stewart.

by JMK (not verified) :: Mon, 12/12/2005 - 7:19pm

This is what happens when teams draft guys based on good stats at the combine rather than proven college careers.

by jonnyblazin (not verified) :: Mon, 12/12/2005 - 8:20pm

A Boller trashing will necessarily turn into a Billick trashing, because everyone loves to trash Billick.
Re: 18, 21- they drafted Clayton but more importantly signed Derrick Mason.
Re: 20- watch out for Jamal Lewis. He had ankle surgery and couldn't rehab properly because he was in prison. That plus the O-line got old fast (see O. Brown), so his stats are miserable. He'll come cheap in the offseason for whoever wants him, and if fully healed I think can still do some damage next year. Its obvious that Boller sucks, but its not like J. Lew hasn't proven what he can do, and he's 26! (or 27)

by sweatervest (not verified) :: Mon, 12/12/2005 - 11:14pm

"(Griese, Fiedler, Ratay, Brad Johnson, Dilfer, Ferotte, Bledsoe, Garcia, Warner, Flutie, Holcombe, Collins, all changed teams during that period)." Bledsoe is sort of ok in the right system, and he wasn't going anywhere except to big daddy Parcells anyway, and the rest of those guys aren't going to do anything more than manage the game if the defense and running game are working well. Hell, Flutie, Garcia and Griese are as likely to lose the game for you as Boller. Boller does suck a lot as a QB. However so do the majority of the QBs in the league.
Bottom line: if you replace Kyle Boller with Trent Dilfer or some other random jackass this season for the Ravens they finish maybe 7-9, 8-8 instead of around 5-11 or so as they're bound to end up. They lost 5 games with an OMG VETERAN QB playing in place of him anyway. Boller does really suck and need to be replaced, but replacing him with something worthwhile is much much easier said than done.

by Basilicus (not verified) :: Tue, 12/13/2005 - 1:29am

Yeah. He was awful. That's all I have to say.

"he will play somewhere next year because 1st round qbs always get a 2nd chance."

Except for Tim Couch.

by sweatervest (not verified) :: Tue, 12/13/2005 - 2:01am

"Except for Tim Couch."

He was in Green Bay for the 2004 preseason, so actually he did have a second chance, but thanks for playing and enjoy these lovely parting gifts.

by TOO (not verified) :: Tue, 12/13/2005 - 3:03am

Unfortunately, Alex Smith is what happens when teams draft on proven college careers.

I guess that leaves swagger, although Ken Dorsey might have that covered.

Clearly, what teams drafting quarterbacks need to look for is mojo.

by Tom Kelso (not verified) :: Tue, 12/13/2005 - 1:51pm

I find it interesting that the "Chester Taylor would be great if they would just make him the starter" bandwagon has crashed and burned with nary a comment. Is that Boller's fault, too?

And how atrocious must the TEN quarterbacks that ranked below Boller in Week 14 DVOA have been! Did we not get the reports of mass suicides or mob violence in those cities? Yet somehow it's Boller's fault that the running game couldn't pick up a 4th-and-less-than-1, instead losing 4 yards. You think that Dick Vermeil would have been roasted if the Raiders had stopped that similarly crazy goal-line run?

But we'll run with a story from the Sun that makes the approved whipping boys (Boller and Billick) look bad, whether or not the game backs it up. It's like letting a Colt fan write commentary for a Ron Borges story on the Pats. The process produced a bad result here, guys.

by P. Ryan Wilson :: Tue, 12/13/2005 - 3:07pm


In all seriousness, I do feel bad for Boller. Yes, I'm a Steelers fan, but even from where I'm sitting, I cringe every time I see him play. I'm truly curious if Boller will get another chance in the NFL if Baltimore ends up going in a different direction in 2006. And that was the point of this post. Not whether Chester Taylor should be starting, or if Brian Billick should be fired, just whether Boller will even be in the NFL next season. And I didn't even link to a Mike Preston column.

by Tom Kelso (not verified) :: Tue, 12/13/2005 - 3:35pm


Thanks for responding. I can appreciate that Boller is not a great -- or even good -- quarterback. He is, however, going to get a backup shot somewhere, simply because the ego of people in the coaching profession is that they can "fix" whatever was wrong.

Given the DVOA rankings of the people involved, though, I think you can make a very good case that the cause of the loss was not Boller, but the atrocious performance of Taylor and the running game. This after there was much commentary along the lines of how great Taylor would be, if only Billick would let him loose, earlier in the season. With no running game to speak of, and behind a makeshift offensive line, a case could even be made that Boller was productive, AND extremely rattled. You can't argue with the product on the field, positive or negative.

As this information is an FO specialty, I felt it needed to be pointed out that the numbers didn't back the impression. And I do have to give you credit for identifying Preston as the Borges of Baltimore, so the hyperbole is on my part there.

Can we also agree that by the standards of your opening, the toughest place in the NFL to stay out of trouble must be Charlotte? In Baltimore, you get hassled by over-reaching Georgia prosecutors, and in Pittsburgh, you get shot in the butt, but Carolina must be hell on earth.

by Mercury815 (not verified) :: Tue, 12/13/2005 - 5:18pm

Joey Porter was shot in the butt while attending a U of Colorado game in Colorado. He was NOT shot in the butt in Pittsburgh. Please do not disparage our fine city with such misrepresentations! DO, however, continue to bag on Baltimore. Thank you.

Kordell Stewart is the 2d coming of Joe Montana compared to Kyle "The Dolt" Boller. Sorry, but true.

by thevertex (not verified) :: Tue, 12/13/2005 - 5:25pm

"Given the DVOA rankings of the people involved, though, I think you can make a very good case that the cause of the loss was not Boller, but the atrocious performance of Taylor and the running game."

The running game being stuffed is part of bad QB play. Without a passer who can legitimately make plays, pretty much every defense in the league is going to sell out against the run. Not to mention the fact that DVOA isn't the end all be all of football evidence. Is it more insightful than "more yards = better"? Of course. Does it definitively prove anything? Not at all.

by Devin McCullen (not verified) :: Tue, 12/13/2005 - 5:58pm

OK, I may just be an idiot, but I think is the second time I've seen Tom refer to the "TEN quarterbacks that ranked below Boller", and I just figured out that he wasn't picking on the Titans.

by Tom Kelso (not verified) :: Tue, 12/13/2005 - 6:43pm

Neither Lewis was prosecuted in Baltimore, either; thank you for making my point for me.

I knew I should have used the number 10, but I would have lost the emphasis. Sorry if I annoyed any Titan fans -- more than I usually do, anyway.

Conversely, no running game can make QB's force throws, look harried on the field, and run for their lives to escape a pass rush they no is coming because the RB's are unproductive. At least Boller put up 259 passing yards and a TD in addition to his turnovers. If Taylor had done something similar, the Broncos were playing poorly enough to give the Ravens a win. And Boller might have been a little more productive.

DVOA may not be the end-all, but remember what site you're on. Part of the mission at FO is to examine the facts of the game, not just the impressions presented as fact.