Ravens coach Brian Billick said he would continue to monitor starting quarterback Steve McNair and wouldn't rule out removing him for Kyle Boller late in a game again.
McNair, who has an injured groin, was pulled in the fourth quarter of Sunday's 26-23 win over the Arizona Cardinals because Billick noticed he was favoring his leg. Boller led the Ravens to the winning 52-yard drive in the final two minutes.
"I will still watch that for a while until I'm confident that Steve is not vulnerable to reaggravating the groin late in the game," Billick said yesterday. "I would anticipate that he will be stronger and healthier this week than he was last week. We'll watch it."
After the game, McNair said he was surprised by the move "for a moment" but acknowledged that he understood the reasons for it.
Billick said yesterday that McNair tweaked his groin early in the game and later noticed that the 13-year veteran wasn't putting his legs into a couple of throws. That could have been a sign that McNair was fatiguing, Billick said.
"It was a call I have to make [while] watching how it's developing," Billick said. "[The Cardinals] were clearly going to be in a pressure mode to get back into the game and bring a whole bunch of folks. To put Steve in that situation would have enhanced the opportunities for him to pull up and aggravate it a little bit more."
Through three games, McNair and Boller have nearly identical statistics.
McNair has a slightly higher completion percentage (65.6 percent to 64.7 percent) but Boller has a better quarterback rating (84.4 to 82.8). Boller, though, has protected the ball better with only one turnover compared with McNair's five.
Billick said that handling the quarterback position can be a delicate process. Rotating quarterbacks could inadvertently create drama among fans and inside the locker room.
"It could be a huge problem if you let your egos get involved," Billick said. "But Steve has one agenda. He's all about winning. And I appreciate that."