Scouting Report: Troy Smith's start against Minnesota

Scouting Report: Troy Smith's start against Minnesota
troy smith

Scouting Report: Troy Smith's start against Minnesota

3 for 5 for 25 yards and 1 int. passing in the first half was not the entire story.

By Bill Smith

            Troy Smith got the start on Saturday night against the Vikes and had most of the 1st string to work with.  While the line was still missing the top 2 LT's the rest of the line was the “expected” starters.  Smith had the rookie 2nd round steal Ray Rice as the RB.  The starting TE Todd Heap was also AOL.

First Possession

            The Vikes are one of the most difficult teams to run on because of their outstanding front 7.   On Smith's second play, he changed the call at the line when he saw a run blitz.  The play broke for 42 yards and put the ball on the Vikes 25.  Two plays later when the D realized that the Ravens were focusing on the run, he faked to Rice and ran a naked bootleg.  He picked up 10 yards down to the 5.  He was only prevented from scoring by a great open field tackle by fellow ex-Buckeye Winfield.  2 plays later, Rice scored to tie the game at 7 all. 

Second Possession

            On the second possession, Smith put a screen pass right on time in the hands of Rice for an 8 yard gain.  His next pass was on a third and 13 situation.  He put the ball where only his receiver could catch it but a big hit by the Vikes S Griffin prevented the catch and the first down.  When the OC called the next pass, the Vikes D line got into the backfield at the same time as the ball got to Smith.  But rather than getting sacked or throwing the ball away, he ducked away from a tackle and ran for 18 yards and a first down.  His next pass was on a 3rd and 21 yards to gain.  The Vikes put in 74 cornerbacks to prevent anything deep.  Smith took the quick slant and picked up 10 but the Ravens had to punt.

Final Possession

            The last possession of the quarter started with only 1:40 left on the clock.  On 1st and 10 FROM THE 40.  His first pass was another quick slant.  The OC had gone to that pattern once too often.  It was well covered and the pass was slightly behind the receiver.  It got picked and returned deep into Raven's territory.  In an attempt to make a tackle, Smith compounded his error by trying to roll block a defender.  The personal fowl called on Smith put the ball at the 10.

            Overall the Ravens D could not get off the field.  The Vikes converted 11 of 19 3rd down attempts for a 57% success rate.  That is far too high.  The Vikes held the ball and scored on every possession in the first half.

            Smith only got to throw the ball 5 times in the half.  Granted, some times he was pressured and ran out of the pocket to avoid a sack.  He was also sacked twice.  The two things that really hurt his cause to start were the interception which was an inaccurate pass and the fact that he had to call 2 timeouts because the team was not lined up properly.  The Ravens were trying to feature the run with their second string RB and third string LT against the best run defense in the league last year.  Not a good offensive game plan.

            Even so, Smith did fairly well.  He ran 3 times for 35 net yards and setup one TD.  In the first half, Smith scored 13 scouting points for a B- grade.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams and has scouted talent.  He is a senior writer for  He has also published several novels on and edits
Tags: Buckeyes Football NFL Ohio State

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