Ravens QB Wrap-up

After an 0-2 start to last season, 4-year veteran Chris Redman orchestrated the offense in victories over Denver, Cleveland, Jacksonville, eventually evening up Baltimore's record to 3-3. But, as you know, while preparing for the Steelers, Redman threw his back out of place and wound up missing the rest of the season. Since then, he's gone under the knife and is currently in the midst of rehab.

Before going down, it looked as though all of the long hours of preparation and patience were finally paying off for the former 3rd rounder ('00). In those 3 wins, Chris tossed 6 touchdowns versus just 1 interception. Moral was high. Everything was coming together. Stuff was happening! And one of the reasons for their early season success is that Chris and the guys blocking up front were all on the same page. Redman realized all his offensive line could provide is about 3.0, maybe 3.5 seconds, worth of protection. Anything that required more time than that would likely mean pain- and a lot of it. And let's face it, Chris isn't the World's best scrambler, nor does he have what most would deem a cannon of an arm. With what little he had to work with, he knew that he would have no more than 3 or 4 steps to find his open receiver- then unload. If nothing was there, then throw it away and live to see another play. Of course this kind of conservative approach does result in its fair share of incompletes, which is why Redman's percentage numbers were so low. Nevertheless, it was that simple concept that reduced turnovers and sacks, which made Billick and Cavanagh's otherwise questionable system shine- especially after the Grbac fiasco in '01. It reached a point to where Redman and his receivers Taylor, Stokley, Heap, and Jamal Lewis were able to systematically pick opposing defenses apart. It was that effective short- to mid- range passing, along with their running game, that allowed the Ravens to keep the sticks moving. It also made going deep less of a risk, by forcing defenses into tight coverage. Whatever momentum the young Ravens established was seriously diminished once Redman became MFA (missing-from-action). The style of his replacement, Jeff Blake, just wasn't conducive to their offensive linemen. Blake is more of a rollout, scramble, all guns blazing type of quarterback, requiring more time, which he just didn't get. At times he did, just not enough. Ask any offensive lineman, which I have, and they'll tell you that they prefer to block for a pure pocket-passer like Redman, rather than a quarterback that has the tendency to take off and run with it. That is unless it's a designed play. But when you have a quarterback that has to take it outside, that forces their linemen to react to the defender and which direction he goes, versus the other way around. Penciled in as Redman's backup is five-year veteran Anthony Wright, who spent the majority of last season on Baltimore's practice squad. Wright, like Redman, has started just a handful of games. While with Dallas, he did have a certain measure of success, including two wins over the Redskins. His game-log career stats shows us that when he's on top of his game he's pretty decent. But, when he's off, he's terrible. To sum his situation best is to say he's a prolonged project still in motion. So, what should the Ravens do at this point? They can't look to the free agent market for much, even though I am keen on this kid Jamie Martin (STL). I'm also a little intrigued with Danny Wuerffel. Is he greatness yet to be unleashed, or just another Heath Shuler? Neil O'Donnell is too old, Kent Graham is too hot 'n cold- mostly cold, and Rick Mirer is too terrible. It is still uncertain whether the Ravens will use their 1st draft pick on a quarterback, or on a defensive tackle. I think they've got to go DT, which means they'll probably decide on quarterback. By the time the Ravens select (10th overall) it's doubtful that Palmer, Leftwich, or Boller will still be on the board. Cincinnati, Dallas, Arizona, and Carolina pick ahead and are equally, if not more desperate at the position. Their only chance to get either Leftwich or Boller is to trade up. That is highly unlikely.

Contact Gridiron Goose at gridirongoose@msn.com


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