Ravens hitch wagon to Wright after Boller injury

OWINGS MILLS -- The Baltimore Ravens' quarterback carousel is revolving again as starter Kyle Boller will miss Sunday's game against the Tennessee Titans and quite possibly longer with a hyperextended big toe in his right foot with backup Anthony Wright replacing him.

Boller suffered a severe turf toe in the third quarter of the Ravens' 24-7 loss to the Indianapolis Colts with X-rays determining that the toe isn't broken and there was minimal ligament damage, according to Ravens coach Brian Billick. While declaring no official timetable, Billick speculated that Boller could be out anywhere from three weeks to two months.

This will be Wright's first start since a playoff loss to Tennessee during the 2003 season after missing all of last season with a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder that required surgery. The latest quarterback switch marks the 13th change either through injury or replacement during Billick's tenure.

"I would bet that Kyle's not ready to go this week," Billick said Monday. "What the time frame is beyond the week I couldn't say, but I can almost guarantee without being a doctor that Kyle won't go this week. We're encouraged by what we know so far."

Because the Ravens have an early bye following the Titans game, Boller has three weeks to recuperate before an Oct. 2 home game against the New York Jets. So, the third-year quarterback is out for at least the remainder of this month. Billick later indicated that the Jets game might be a tad optimistic, saying that the Oct. 9 game against the Detroit Lions was more realistic.

"The toe is sore," Boller said Sunday night. "I've never had any foot problems before. It's concerning because it's my plant foot. I'll keep my fingers crossed."

Now, Wright will immediately get acclimated to the starters' huddle again after going 19 for 31 for 214 yards, a touchdown, two interceptions and a fumble against the Colts.

This is the second time Wright has replaced Boller due to an injury. When Boller injured his leg against the St. Louis Rams in November of 2003, Wright went 5-2 as a starter and helped the Ravens claim their first AFC North title.

"It's unfortunate what happened to Kyle, but I'm always going to take advantage of an opportunity to start," Wright said. "Those opportunities don't come very often. I'm just going to make sure that I go out and play consistently and not get outside the boundaries of this offense and try to put points on the board. ... I can lead this offense."

Wright engineered the Ravens' biggest comeback ever in a 44-41 overtime win over the Seattle Seahawks in 2003 where Baltimore trailed 41-24 in a second half where he tossed four touchdowns with no interceptions.

"Anthony's a great player and he's going to lead us in the next game and for however long Kyle is out," wide receiver Clarence Moore said. "We have a lot of confidence in him."

Wright, 29, completed 20 of 37 passes for 214 yards, two interceptions and a touchdown in the AFC wild-card loss to the Titans and has been in the NFL for seven seasons. In 2003, he completed 52.8 percent of his passes for 1,199 yards, nine touchdowns and eight interceptions.

"I've been under fire and through the fire," Wright said. "Obviously, I'll be able to respect those experiences and go forward."

Billick called several timeouts against the Colts to increase Wright's workload, drawing the ire of Colts coach Tony Dungy, whom he patched things with up over the phone Monday morning. With 13 seconds remaining, Wright threw a touchdown pass to tight end Daniel Wilcox to prevent the Ravens' first shutout since 2002.

"I had a quarterback that had a year off, he needed those snaps," Billick said. "Clearly the game was out of reach, but it was a tactical decision to get Anthony the reps.

"The good news is we've been down this road with Anthony. The qualifier is, with the year off Anthony had a lot of rust to knock off, and I think he's done that."

Wright will take all of the repetitions with the first offense in practice and be involved with establishing the game plan against a Tennessee team that lost 34-7 to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

"It didn't really catch me off guard, but I was not really expecting to play this early in the year," Wright said. "Being able to take the snaps with the ones will really help me a lot for this week."

For the moment, Wright will be backed up by rookie quarterback Derek Anderson, a sixth-round draft pick from Oregon State. However, Billick indicated that the Ravens will likely sign a veteran, possibly Kordell Stewart, who backed up Boller last year while Wright was hurt. Other unemployed quarterbacks include: Vinny Testaverde, Quincy Carter Tim Couch and Chad Hutchinson.

No roster move appeared imminent Monday as the team was still determining how much time Boller will actually miss.

"It was great having Kordell here," said Billick, who also has receiver Randy Hymes and punter Dave Zastudil as emergency quarterback options. "I would love to have Kordell back here, but we're looking at all the usual suspects."

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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