OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Kyle Boller will start at quarterback for the Baltimore Ravens for at least the next two to three games due to Steve McNair's injured non-throwing shoulder, coach Brian Billick announced Tuesday night.
McNair has suffered a subluxation of his left shoulder that keeps popping back in and out, an injury the struggling 13-year veteran incurred during the Ravens' 21-7 loss Sunday to the Cincinnati Bengals.
"Kyle will start this week, and it will be two to three weeks before Steve can get back to activity," Billick said during his weekly WBAL radio program. "If you see the television copy when he took the last hit, you can see it happen. There's initially a numbness and then you wake up in the morning and it hurts. That subluxation will put him out for a minimum of two to three weeks."
A four-time Pro Bowl selection and a former NFL Co-Most Valuable Player, McNair, 34, has turned the football over 11 times this season and thrown just two touchdown passes. He led the Ravens to one touchdown in his past 35 drives, and that score came on a 33-yard run by Willis McGahee in a 38-7 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Ravens air attack
Baltimore coach Brian Billick said he is going with Kyle Boller over the injured Steve McNair at quarterback. Here is how the two stack up this season:
"There's no way you can play with a subluxed shoulder and be able to protect yourself," Billick said.
Now, Boller steps back under center.
An erratic three-year starter who was replaced by McNair last year when he was acquired in a trade from the Tennessee Titans, Boller has thrown 71 fewer passes than McNair this season. However, Boller has thrown one more touchdown pass than McNair with three and one less interception with three.
The 2003 first-round draft pick from Cal-Berkeley directed the Ravens to their lone touchdown against the NFL's 31st-ranked defense Sunday, hitting Mark Clayton with a 47-yard pass to set up McGahee's 1-yard touchdown run.
"Kyle is cranked up and ready to go," Billick said of a player who has drawn heavy criticism in the past from fans and media.
Meanwhile, rookie quarterback Troy Smith - the Heisman Trophy winner from Ohio State who was selected with the last pick of the fifth round - will operate as the backup quarterback.
"A fun challenge for Troy," Billick said. "He has to be ready. This could be real. The focus and attention he has to bring to it is heightened."
Things are looking up for the ratbirds and they were predicted to win the Divison