Counting Out Redman Could be a Mistake

The early speculation has already started on how quickly Chris Redman will play himself out of his starting job. Some people are betting that he'll lose his job as soon as he throws his first interception. Some people are betting that he'll lose his job after his first poor outing during a preseason game. Some people are even betting that this isn't even Redman's job to lose.

Instead, Brian Billick only named him the starter to appease the fans. His secret starter is Jeff Blake, who was signed on to be the "backup" quarterback.

Perhaps all of this speculation is just. We've seen Billick's track record of naming different quarterbacks as the No.1 guy. In the last three years, Billick has gone through five different starting quarterbacks. If Billick backs a quarterback, run for cover. However, Redman may be the exception to the rule. The Ravens will let Redman remain as the starting quarterback for this season, and here's why. 

First and foremost, the Ravens need to see if their third round investment on him three years ago was worth the hype. At the time, the selection of Redman was believed to be a gift from the heavens above.

A number of scouts believed that Redman was not only the top quarterback in the draft prior to the start of his senior season at Louisville, but he had a chance to become the No.1 pick in the draft. Redman had passed for over 4,000 yards, completed 65% of his passes, and led the No.1 offense in the land the year before. He had a gun for an arm, the smarts to learn three different offensive schemes in four years, and the toughness of an old buffalo's hide.

In fact, the legend of Redman's high threshold of pain was astonishing. In his junior season, Redman took 12 stitches to his chin without any medication in one game, and played with a sprained medial collateral ligament in another. He simply refused to stop playing under any circumstance.

More than anything though, Redman is a born leader. He communicated to his players and had full control of the huddle at all times in college.

So what went wrong for Redman on draft day? A bad combine performance, where Redman missed passes, and ran a pedestrain 5.0 flat in the 40. Scouts were also concerned that Redman  tended to hold onto the ball too long, making him susceptible to taking big hits.

Certainly, the Ravens could have a steal on their hands if Redman sures up some of those deficiencies in his game.

Also, this is a contract year for Redman. No, he's not an unrestricted free-agent. But he is a restricted free-agent, which means the Ravens will need to see if he's worth re-signing to a long-term extension next year. If he is, the Ravens will need to determine what kind of quarterback Redman will be for them. If he is a franchise signal caller like Warner, McNabb, Manning, Favre, Culpepper; a second tier talent who's not quite like Warner, but he's damn good; an average quarterback who's good enough to win games when he has good enough talent surrounding him.

But in the end, the most important reason to let Redman play is because this is a rebuilding season. The Ravens want to compete, but in reality, they will not have enough talent to be more than a .500 team at best.

So what are the Ravens really playing for this season? They are playing for the future. They are playing to see which young players will be their building blocks for that future.

We know what Ray Lewis can do. We know what Peter Boulware can do. Hey, we even know what Jeff Blake should bring to the table. However, Chris Redman, more than any untested player on this team, is the ultimate enigma.

Not letting him play and counting him out would be a mistake. Don't look for the Ravens to make that mistake though. 



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