McNair Expected to Return Against New Orleans

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Baltimore Ravens quarterback Steve McNair is expected to start against the New Orleans Saints following a bye after incurring a mild concussion Sunday along with a neck sprain and an abrasion.

McNair was released from Union Memorial Hospital on Sunday night after being knocked out late in the first quarter of the Ravens' 23-21 loss to the Carolina Panthers. Multiple tests and X-rays have been ruled negative, including another set of examinations conducted Monday at the team's training complex.
"He's groggy," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "I think it was the jerking of the neck that caused the mild concussion. There is no reason to believe that he won't be available for us two weeks from now."
Although backup Kyle Boller threw three touchdowns in relief, including two deflected passes for scores to receiver Mark Clayton, there is no quarterback controversy in Baltimore. Even though McNair has been erratic with five touchdowns, seven interceptions and a 64.1 passer rating, Billick made it absolutely plain that he's not changing quarterbacks.
"Steve is our starting quarterback," Billick said. "We feel fortunate to have two good quarterbacks. We feel like Kyle Boller is an excellent quarterback who still has a lot to prove. "But our confidence is well bore out in having Kyle. But Steve is clearly the starting quarterback, and we're all relieved that it doesn't look like this will have any lingering effects."
MEA CULPA: Billick acknowledged that he was at fault for not calling a timeout more promptly during the final drive of the game because he thought that officials would stop the clock by measuring whether DeShaun Foster was close to a first down.
Between the start of Foster's 3-yard run on 2nd-and-4 and Billick burning his first timeout with 1:27 remaining, 29 seconds ran off the clock. Carolina quarterback Jake Delhomme threw for a first down, then kneeled down on 3rd-11 after the Ravens' final timeout to end the game.
"It was an error on my part," Billick said. "We made the judgment to put it on the defense to stop them there, then use the timeout. I waited too long.
"If I had made a quicker analysis of it, it could have given us one shot with three seconds on the clock. My mishandling of that for about 10 seconds cost us one final shot to block a punt. That hesitation on my part cost us about 10 seconds."

TRAINING ROOM: Strong safety Dawan Landry, who suffered a sprained medial collateral ligament Sunday, would likely be listed as questionable if the Ravens had a game this Sunday.
"The prognosis on him two weeks from now, unless something dramatically changes, is pretty good," Billick said.

RING OF HONOR: Four-time Pro Bowl linebacker Peter Boulware will be inducted into the team's Ring of Honor at M&T Bank Stadium during halftime of the Ravens' Nov. 5 game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Boulware, the franchise's all-time sacks leader with 70, joins past honorees Earnest Byner, Art Modell, Michael McCrary and the Baltimore Colts' Hall of Famers.
"Peter was such a great warrior, his passion and energy, that focused passion to get to the quarterback," Billick said. "He had that look in his eye. His whole world was getting to that quarterback."

QUICK HITS: Billick singled out the special teams units for praise, particularly rookie cornerback Derrick Martin who was activated for his first NFL game and registered two tackles in kick coverage. "Derrick Martin played phenomenal," Billick said. … The Ravens apparently haven't closed the door on re-signing Clarence Moore after releasing the wide receiver Saturday night to promote linebacker Dennis Haley from the practice squad to boost a thinned special teams. Moore complained loudly last week about a verbal exchange with receivers coach Mike Johnson, but it doesn't appear that contributed to the personnel decision. "That will still play itself out," Billick said regarding Moore's status. "We were in a situation where we had to make a move because of our vulnerability. Any player we had to move to get Dennis Haley up would have been disappointing because I like our 53-man roster."

Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times in Westminster, Maryland.

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