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There's still a chance that Troy Smith will be healthy enough to start tonight's final preseason game against Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons, but the notion that Joe Flacco might start the regular season opener has gone from pipe dream to probability, at least in my book.

The apparently loss of Kyle Boller for at least a few weeks (and probably more) and the decision to sign San Diego Chargers castoff Casey Bramlet only increases the likelihood that Flacco ends up starting against the Bengals 10 days from now. Even if Smith plays tonight, he's not likely to play much, which means that Flacco will get another extended look.

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It's still possible the Ravens make a run at Daunte Culpepper, but Flacco clearly is growing on the coaching staff...and it is largely a new coaching staff that isn't haunted by Boller's bad experience as a rookie.

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