Position Analysis: Quarterbacks

Leading up to the start of training camp, RavensInsider staffer Dev Panchwagh will extensively analyze each position on the Baltimore Ravens.<br><br><br>

Quarterbacks: Kyle Boller, Kordell Stewart, Anthony Wright, Josh Harris.

Starter(s): Although there were a number of tempting alternatives that the Ravens could have conceivably gone for in the off-season aside from Boller, the team made the right call in handing the keys to the second year player. 

In Boller, the Ravens still don't have a handle on what type of quarterback they have. Boller has the arm strength to throw the football with great velocity and range, but his accuracy and touch lacks consistency. Boller is mobile enough, and can throw the ball while on the move, but he's more or less a pocket quarterback. With that being the case, Boller will learn how to scan the entire field with better precision than he did a year ago, when he struggled at times to make the proper reads and adjustments before and after the ball was snapped. 

That said; it was clear that Boller's game improved little by little as his rookie season progressed last year. He threw fewer interceptions during his last four starts than during his first four, and learned to rally his teammates around him. In fact, you could sense that the entire offense seemed deflated after Boller suffered a quadriceps injury against the St. Louis Rams

The hope is that Boller will clean up his mechanics under the watch of newly installed offensive consultant Jim Fassel. Fassel is one of the preeminent quarterback coaches in the NFL.

Backups: In his first chance to become a starter in three years, Anthony Wright put together a decent run with the Ravens during the last half of the season. Wright was able to lead the team to a 5-4 finish, which was enough to win the AFC North and a fourth seed in the playoffs. 

The front office felt strongly enough about Wright's potential as a solid No.2 QB that they gave him a two-year contract extension in the off-season. Unfortunately, the Ravens' medical staff found out that Wright suffered a torn labrum against Seattle during the 2003 season, and the injury could force Wright out of action until the middle of the season.

As a result, the Ravens signed Kordell Stewart to a minimum deal in June to handle the backup duties until Wright's return. Stewart has been an enigma throughout his career. At times he's been an absolute playmaker who confounded defenses. At other times, Stewart has looked like the worst passing quarterback in the league. In fact, as a starter, Stewart had the lowest quarterback rating in the NFL last year. Still, it is certainly possible that Stewart can be a decent stopgap option for a one or two game stretch at this point in his career. At the age of 32, he still possesses decent mobility and arm strength, and he would be able to take advantage of the bootleg and waggle plays that the coaches call to get their quarterbacks throwing on the run. 
Behind Stewart and Wright will be Josh Harris, the Ravens' sixth-round draft pick out of the 2004 draft. Harris has solid mobility, arm strength, accuracy and intelligence. The hope is that Harris can be groomed as the backup behind Boller within a year or two. 

Grade: C-


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