Passing game in flux; Stewart voted King Ugly

WESTMINSTER -- As training camp concluded Tuesday, the Baltimore Ravens' passing game remains a work in progress.<br><br> Through two preseason games, the Ravens are averaging 108.5 passing yards a game. Their quarterbacks have compiled a cumulative 38.3 completion percentage with two touchdowns, three interceptions and a 40.6 passer rating.

"It has a lot of potential," receiver Kevin Johnson said. "I think with Jamal Lewis back there running the ball, it gives us a lot of opportunities for one-on-one coverage. If the quarterback as well as the receivers can be on the same page, I think the sky is the limit."

Through two starts, quarterback Kyle Boller has completed 15 of 29 passes for 153 yards, one touchdown and an interception. He has completed 51.7 percent of his passes and posted a 64.3 passer rating.

Generally, though, the second-year quarterback has drawn decent reviews from the coaching staff as he tries to improve his fundamentals and mechanics.

"He has progressed very well," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "The thing that I am most encouraged about is the way that Kyle has handled difficult situations. Whether it is someone running a wrong route or a protection breakdown, his fundamentals in the pocket have been very good.

"He is learning from every situation and that is something that pleases me about Kyle is when he makes a mistake, he learns from it."

RETURN GAME IN FLUX: Although Billick predicted that the Ravens' special teams will rank among the upper echelon again, he's worried about the return game.

Incumbent return specialist Lamont Brightful is struggling. Rookie Derek Abney has an injured shoulder. Running back B.J. Sams is working his way back from thumb surgery.

"Coverage teams, first and foremost, will be our strength," Billick said. "The return game, obviously, that's something that's going to have to come. That would probably be my biggest concern about the special teams right now, but I'd rather have that concern than worry about the coverage teams."

INJURED RESERVE: Rookie defensive tackle Matt Zielinski underwent successful surgery to repair his torn anterior cruciate ligament Tuesday and was placed on injured reserve.

ROSTER MOVE: The Ravens signed rookie nose tackle Bryan Save, an undersized former Colorado State player who has prior stints this year with the Indianapolis Colts, Atlanta Falcons and San Francisco 49ers.

ROOKIE REPORT: Billick on the rookie class: "It's a little frustrating that Devard Darling hasn't had more of an opportunity because of the [quadriceps], Dwan Edwards has been excellent. Roderick Green again shows great, great promise. It's great to have B.J. Sams back. Daniel Wilcox, who I don't really know if you can classify as a rookie, has been very impressive as well."

KING UGLY: The Ravens voted new backup quarterback Kordell Stewart as the winner of the annual ‘King Ugly' contest Monday night along with holding a rookie talent show.

Stewart said he believes that bribes from rival candidates played a large part in his election.

Cornerback Corey Fuller, last year's winner, was simply relieved to pass on the title.

"Definitely, knowing that I'm not the ugliest guy on this team," Fuller said. "It has eluded a couple of guys for a couple of years since I've been here, but Kordell is a worthy candidate."

Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times.
 


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