Mitchell to start at free safety over Demps

Baltimore Ravens coach Brian Billick has an aversion to declaring starters. At least, in the traditional sense of the word. His reasoning is based on how he considers a player a starter if they are the first option in any given situation. If, say, a defensive back plays when the offense features three wideouts, two running backs, two tight ends or is called upon in nickel and dime duty, then Billick calls him a starter.

In the wake of free safety Anthony Mitchell replacing rookie Will Demps at the end of the Ravens' 27-23 win over the Cincinnati Bengals, Billick wouldn't tip his hand on who will begin Sunday's game against the New Orleans Saints.

"We have confidence in both," Billick said. "Mitchell played very well last week and Demps has played very well all year."

Regardless of Billick's noncommittal statement, Mitchell and strong safety Ed Reed both indicated that Mitchell will likely get the start over Demps. Demps beat out Mitchell for the starting job in training camp, but hasn't made much of an impact lately.

 "I have been rolling with the first string all week," said Mitchell, who played almost the entire fourth quarter last week after Demps didn't adjust to some of the Bengals' formations and patterns. "I'm just going to go out there and compete and have fun."

Mitchell recorded one solo tackle and one special teams tackle against the Bengals. Demps is tied with Reed for fourth on the Ravens in tackles with 64 to go along with a sack, an interception and a forced fumble.

"I think Anthony is going to start," Reed said. "Both of them are going to play." KNIGHT IN WAITING: The Ravens signed former Arizona Cardinals first-round pick Tom Knight to a two-year contract on Thursday. The cornerback isn't going to be used as immediate insurance in the secondary, though.

Knight has nagging problems with his hamstring, and the Ravens view him as help for the future that they won't rush onto the field.

 "He's a good, proven corner that is dealing with some physical issues," Billick said of Knight, who has started 53 games in the NFL. "We don't expect anything out of him this year. To have him on the roster, going into next year will be a real positive for us."

INJURY UPDATE: The Ravens still list quarterback Chris Redman (back) on the injury report as questionable with cornerbacks Chris McAlister (shoulder), James Trapp (chest)) and tight end John Jones (knee) all down as probable, meaning they have a 75 percent chance of playing.

McAlister, who surrendered a touchdown pass last week in his first game back from an ankle injury, has regained most of his mobility. His shoulder is still sore, though.

 "I think his ankle is fine," Billick said. "His shoulder will work itself out and he'll be okay."

A questionable listing officially means Redman has a 50-50 shot of playing. However, Billick has already declared veteran Jeff Blake as the starter under center for the remainder of the season.


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