Boller 'prepared' for possible start

The Baltimore Sun

Injured quarterback Steve McNair threw for the first time since Monday's game, but backup Kyle Boller continued to practice with the Ravens' first-team offense yesterday.

Because McNair might not know whether he can play with an injured groin muscle until game time, Boller said he has to be mentally prepared to make his first start in 20 months.

"I'm ready to get back on the field and hopefully get a win," Boller said. "It'll be different not knowing [if he will start], but I'll be prepared either way if I get the call or I don't."

Boller ran the first-team offense during the 30-minute portion of practice that the media are allowed to watch.

McNair later came out and did some throwing, coach Brian Billick said. Billick didn't specify whether McNair was able to push off his leg and throw accurately.

When McNair injured his groin Monday, he had trouble following through on his passes, which tended to sail high.

"[He did] a little more," Billick said. "He threw a little bit."

Boller hasn't started a game since January 2006, when he threw two interceptions in a 20-16 loss to the Cleveland Browns.

Last season, he replaced an injured McNair twice in the first quarter, totaling 464 yards passing and five touchdowns.

On Monday - five days after signing a one-year extension - Boller came in for the final drive and nearly led the Ravens to a comeback victory. Down 27-20, Boller had a touchdown pass to Todd Heap negated by a questionable pass interference call on the Ravens tight end and later had a strong-armed pass ricochet off Heap's shoulder in the end zone.

Boller said his routine hasn't changed that much this week. "There's really not that much difference, except I'm taking a lot more reps," Boller said. "As far as the preparation and film study, that stays the same. I try to watch as much tape as I can even if I'm not starting in case an opportunity presents itself."

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