Ravens - Saints: more game notes

NEW ORLEANS - Chester Taylor is rapidly building a reputation as one of the top backup running backs in the league, and is likely to be in demand as a free agent this winter. In relief of former Pro Bowl runner Jamal Lewis, the $3 million man has rushed for 253 yards in roughly six quarters of work. Besides his 43-yard touchdown run in the first quarter against the Saints, Taylor had a 50-yard run on his next carry.

Although Lewis has been rehabilitating from surgery on his right ankle in February had a recent setback of bone spurs in his left foot, the Ravens expect him to play in Thursday's preseason finale against the Washington Redskins.

"We haven't had a question in a long time with Chester," Billick said of Taylor, who has carried the football 26 times this month. "He's gotten more than enough snaps. Now, we need to get Jamal some snaps."

Whether or not this will be his last season with the team, Taylor is clearly relishing his increased role and the confidence the front office demonstrated in him by matching the Cleveland Browns' offer sheet.

"I love this organization," Taylor said. "I'm glad to be back with them."

BOLLER TAKES A BEATING: Quarterback Kyle Boller was battered by the Saints' pass rush, including a scary helmet-to-helmet shot from linebacker Ronald McKinnon that drew a flag. Despite the rough treatment, Boller remains coherent, in one piece and in good spirits.

Boller was examined after the McKinnon hit and didn't suffer a concussion. Afterward, Boller complained of soreness in his shoulder and chest.

"I'm fine, it's part of the game," Boller said. "It was a good shot, but I'm 100 percent healthy. Knock on wood, I've never had a concussion in my life. I don't know if I had a hard head or something."

With flagrantly poor pass protection, Boller was hit on seven of the 12 times he dropped back to pass and was sacked once. He took a big hit from blitzing linebacker Courtney Watson after the McKinnon shot, but lofted the football in time for a 31-yard touchdown pass to Clarence Moore.

"Anybody that has any questions about Kyle Boller's toughness hasn't see the last two years," Billick said. "He's a tough nut."

CARTER MAKES DEBUT: Playing in his first NFL game in 21 months, cornerback Dale Carter started in place of injured cornerback Samari Rolle. He left the game in the second quarter with back spasms that aren't believed to be serious.

Carter delivered an open-field tackle on Joe Horn in the first quarter, reacting quickly to the 3-yard pass.

"Dale was fine," Billick said. "He could have kept going. He wanted to work through it a little bit.

"Dale got some good, initial work and he's going to get a lot more on Thursday. Dale's got a smile on his face. He's ready to go."

QUICK HITS: Defensive tackle Dwan Edwards' sack was his first in an actual game since playing at Oregon State. "My teammates probably don't know that I hadn't had one," Edwards said. "I just want to contribute." … Rookie linebacker Mike Smith had a team-high seven tackles and a sack. … Linebacker Bart Scott and defensive back Jamaine Winborne had five tackles apiece. … Rookie safety B.J. Ward is playing well on special teams. … Tight end Trent Smith, who's on the bubble to make the team, caught four passes for 25 yards. … Rookie kicker Rhys Lloyd didn't have good distance again on his kickoffs and averaged only 34.3 yards on four punts in relief of starter Dave Zastudil.

In addition to being a long time contributor to RavensInsider, Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times in Westminster Maryland.

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