Ravens say he's just Wright for his job

OWINGS MILLS - The hierarchy of the Baltimore Ravens' quarterbacks remains undecided because the team has yet to declare its starter. Regardless of who ultimately wins a competition between incumbent Chris Redman and rookie Kyle Boller, Anthony Wright definitely figures into the equation as a reserve. A quality third quarterback, insists the coaching staff and general manager Ozzie Newsome.

Perhaps the truest barometer of the Ravens' opinion of the former Dallas Cowboy has been their reluctance to sign a more experienced veteran after adding Wright off waivers last season.

Because Wright had five starts with the Cowboys and has demonstrated improvement in a passing camp that closes today, Ravens officials say they are unlikely to search for more assistance at this point.

"Anthony has been our biggest surprise this offseason," Ravens quarterbacks and receivers coach David Shaw said. "He has really picked it up. Last year, we didn't have the opportunity to give him a chance. "Now, he has come in and studied a lot and got the protections and routes down. He has been great this offseason. He has good arm strength, good mobility and good quickness. I'm very pleased with where he's at right now."

Besides honing his skills on the practice field, where he has shown off his arm and agility, Wright has continually studied tapes of his eight games in two seasons in Dallas. It was an experience of peaks and valleys for Wright in Valley Ranch, who aggravated an anterior cruciate ligament tear in his right knee in 2001 that he originally hurt in college.

Wright passed for 766 yards, five touchdowns and eight interceptions over two seasons for a cumulative quarterback rating of 50.8.

When Troy Aikman suffered a concussion against the Redskins in 2000, Wright led Dallas to a 32-13 win. He completed three of his five passes for 73 yards, including a 46-yard reception to James McKnight behind Deion Sanders on his first attempt.

Now, Wright is hopeful that he'll receive another chance in Baltimore even though Redman or Boller have been slated for starting duty this fall with Boller the likely quarterback of the future.

"I think I can show these guys that I can lead the team this season," Wright said. "All I need is a chance, and if they give me that chance I'm pretty sure I can go out and do my job."

Wright has been involved in adverse circumstances before. By the end of the 2000 season, Wright and a porous Dallas offensive line were overwhelmed by the Tennessee Titans' defense in a Monday night game on Christmas. Wright completed only five of 20 attempts for 35 yards with two interceptions.

"One of the biggest things that he and I have talked about is his mechanics," Shaw said. "I think he got a little disjointed in Dallas. What I always talk to him about is timing, just trusting his reads and throwing on rhythm and throwing on time."

In 2001, Wright started three games in place of an injured Quincy Carter. Again, he defeated the Redskins for his first win as a starter by leading a game-deciding fourth-quarter drive. He completed 15-of-28 passes for 177 yards and an interception, also scrambling for 32 yards on eight carries.

"He's a guy with a strong arm who had that Charlie Ward mentality as far as breaking tackles," said receiver Marcus Robinson, who played with Wright for two seasons at South Carolina. "He can scramble, but he also had that zip on the ball. He was definitely a playmaker. I feel the same way about him now."

Ravens coach Brian Billick has been complimentary of the way Wright has delivered the football and his knowledge of the offense, but offered this caveat: "Until he gets the live bullets going around him, that will be the real judgment for Anthony, but I've been impressed."

Would Wright be inserted if Redman got hurt in the middle of the game and Boller wasn't believed to be adequately prepared?

"That's really early to make that call yet," Shaw said.

After Wright's final season with the Gamecocks, he made the Pittsburgh Steelers' roster as an undrafted rookie. This situation appears to assure him job security, but no guarantees of playing time.

"I can't really concern myself with that," Wright said. "All I can do is go out and play everyday like I'm going to get that chance and when that chance comes take advantage of it."

NOTES: Rookie outside linebacker Terrell Suggs was held out of practice with back spasms. The first-round pick said it wasn't serious and had experienced them before. … The Ravens revived their training camp tradition of hazing rookies, dragging rookie receiver Hugh Smith through mud puddles and taping him to a goal post.


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