- James Walker, ESPN Staff Writer
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A player, coach or issue that should be on your radar as training camp approaches.
Troy Smith is a perfect example of how quickly things can change in the NFL.
Two years ago, Smith was the favorite to be the starting quarterback of the Baltimore Ravens. He was within weeks of winning the job before a tonsil infection knocked him out the competition and gift-wrapped it for then-rookie Joe Flacco, who ran with the opportunity.
Two years later, Smith is in limbo and he could be trade bait. He's the projected third quarterback behind Flacco and recent acquisition Marc Bulger heading into training camp.
"It's a part of the game," Smith recently told Mike Duffy of BaltimoreRavens.com. "The situation, there's not much that we as players can do about it."
Smith seems to be taking the high road despite his unsure future with the Ravens. This offseason, his representation made it clear that Smith would like the opportunity to try to earn a starting role elsewhere. He only carried a fifth-round tender but there were no takers.
Now the question is would teams reconsider Smith if there's an injury? Would the Ravens lower their asking price to a sixth- or seventh-rounder in 2011? Or would Baltimore be content to keep Smith around as the emergency quarterback?
Smith's biggest contribution to the team was his ability to run the "Suggs package," which was Baltimore's variation of the Wildcat offense. But as the No. 3 quarterback, Smith by rule could not play unless Flacco is benched or injured for the remainder of the game.
Barring injury, there just isn't much room for Smith to contribute to Baltimore this year. Sure, a team can never have enough quarterbacks with starting experience. The Ravens have four: Flacco, Bulger, Smith and John Beck. But at least one has to go before the Sept. 13 opener against the New York Jets.
That leaves either Smith or Beck as the odd man out, and the trade market for Smith could be the determining factor.
A player, coach or issue that should be on your radar as training camp approaches.Troy Smith is a perfect example of how quickly things can change in the NFL.