Ravens' Boller setting mark for durability

OWINGS MILLS -- Baltimore Ravens quarterback Kyle Boller represents an anomaly in the Brian Billick era. <br><br> Boller is the first quarterback to start successive season-openers since Billick took over in 1999. Barring an injury over the last four games, he'll also become the first one to take every snap in a season over that period.

Because of quarterbacks' injuries and poor performances, Billick has changed starters multiple times.

That includes Scott Mitchell, Stoney Case and Tony Banks in 1999, Banks and Trent Dilfer in 2000, Elvis Grbac and Randall Cunningham in 2001, Chris Redman and Jeff Blake in 2002 and Boller and Anthony Wright last season.

Boller's rookie season was cut short in 2003 after nine games because of a quadriceps injury.

This season, Boller has been remarkably healthy and Billick hasn't needed to insert backup Kordell Stewart.

"Oh thanks, if that happens, I'm going to have you hunt down," Billick said when Boller's durability was noted. "I don't know what the numbers are, the number of quarterbacks that get through an entire season.

"It is a rare occurrence because of the nature of the game and that's why you place so much value and pay such a high price on your backup quarterback. We hope we can maintain that. Every snap he continues to get, we're a better team and we're going to be a better team in the long run as he gets those experiences."

NOMINATED: Billick endorsed safety Ed Reed for league-wide honors.

Reed has intercepted seven passes with a team-record 311 return yards, including an NFL record 106-yard return for a touchdown against Cleveland.

"He's a possible NFL Defensive Player of the Year caliber," Billick said. "He's had an incredible year. You forget how young Ed is. You get a sense that he's been doing this forever and that's what makes it even more amazing."

Reed is also likely going to change the way scouts evaluate the safety position in a quest for better coverage skills and hands. In 44 career games, he has 19 interceptions, four blocked punts and six touchdowns.

"The safety position has to change because the tight end position has changed," Billick said. "People are coveting that athleticism at tight end. If that continues, you better get some athleticism at safety as well. I think it's a natural evolution."

FREE-AGENT FIND: Running back Jamel White is the personnel department's latest discovery.

Cut by Tampa Bay after four years in Cleveland, White has added a slashing element to the Ravens' backfield. White rushed for 43 yards on six carries in a loss to Cincinnati.

White follows other street free agents that have contributed in Baltimore: tight ends Daniel Wilcox and Darnell Dinkins.

"Our personnel staff, and it's an entire staff effort, but George Kokinis and Vince Newsome do a phenomenal job," Billick said. "He's been a great , great surprise for us. He's been very solid on special teams to the point that we want to infuse him more and he looked pretty good the other day getting the ball."

TRAINING ROOM: Running back Jamal Lewis (ankle) and nickel back Deion Sanders (foot) remain questionable. Long snapper Joe Maese (back) was added to the injury report as probable. The Giants made no changes.

Aaron Wilson is the chief writer for RavensInsider.Com He is also the Ravens' reporter for the Carroll County Times in Westminster Maryland.

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