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Joe Flacco didn't knock anyone's socks off during last night's 10-9 loss to the Atlanta Falcons at M&T, but he made quite an impression in the interview room after the game. When he was asked if he felt like he was ready to start the first regular season game against the Bengals on Sept. 7, he didn't lapse into typical athlete-speak and defer the question to the coaching staff.

"Yes," he said, and did not elaborate.

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So, somebody asked him what he thought of the conventional wisdom that a rookie quarterback should sit for a year to learn the ropes at football's highest level of competition.

"How are you going to learn if you sit,'' he answered. "I think the best way to learn is to go out there and experience it."

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Not sure that John Harbaugh and the Ravens braintrust agree, but they may not have any choice? Flacco is on the verge of winning the starting job by default, though there still is a chance Troy Smith will get healthy over the weekend and take over in time to face the Bengals on Sept. 7.

The QB soap opera is far from over. Casey Bramlet may stay around only long enough for the team to get some definitive information on Kyle Boller's shoulder, which may not be as badly damaged as it has been portrayed. The Ravens are holding out hope that both the Boller and Smith situations will clarify by Monday, though that wouldn't seem to leave sufficient time to get Smith to the point where he's a better option for the opener than Flacco.

Don't expect any announcement until late in the week. No sense giving the Bengals a heads up, but I'm sure they're assuming it's Flacco, too.

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