- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 12, 2003

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Baltimore Ravens’ annual quarterback carousel will take its first spin of the season Sunday in Miami.

Anthony Wright, who has not taken an NFL snap in two seasons, will make his Ravens debut against the Miami Dolphins (5-4) at Pro Player Stadium. Wright becomes Baltimore’s 10th starting quarterback in coach Brian Billick’s five seasons.

Wright, 27, a five-year veteran, goes from being the Ravens’ third-stringer to starter after rookie Kyle Boller went down Sunday with a torn left quadriceps. Along the way, Wright leapfrogged backup Chris Redman on the depth chart.

“He’s excited about it; he’s worked very hard and deserves this opportunity,” Billick said. “I don’t have a lot of concerns about his ability to step up. The guy has started on ‘Monday Night Football.’ He’s been under the bright lights, so this isn’t some young kid who is just coming off the street.”

The 6-foot-1, 211-pounder made five starts last season for the Dallas Cowboys, going 1-4. The Ravens originally signed Wright for the practice squad as an insurance policy for Jeff Blake and Redman.

“I understand the pressure that comes from being a starter on a football team, and I’m ready to deal with it,” Wright said. “The biggest thing for me this weekend is to play under control, to play within my game and not try to do too much. It’s been hard not playing. I think I can take the experiences that I had in Dallas and bring them over here.”

It now appears that Redman, 3-3 last season as the Ravens’ starter before a back injury ended his year, has no future in Baltimore. Redman, who has fallen out of favor with Billick and offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh, becomes an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.

The Ravens selected Redman out of Louisville in the third round (75th overall) of the 2000 NFL Draft. This is his fourth year in Billick’s system, and he finds himself on the depth chart behind a practice squad quarterback who has a 46.4 career completion percentage.

Redman, 26, lost the starting quarterback job to Boller in training camp. He did little in restoring Billick’s faith in him Sunday when he replaced Boller and completed seven of 12 passes for just 58 yards, threw two interceptions, lost a fumble and was sacked five times.

“You can help an athlete as best you can, but at some point that confidence and inner strength has to come from within,” Billick said. “I wish this could be different for him, but it’s not.”

Perhaps it really doesn’t matter who the Ravens’ starting quarterback is because their blueprint for success is a bruising ground game behind Jamal Lewis, the NFL’s leading rusher with 1,156 yards (a 5.4 average) and seven touchdowns; a dominant defense (No.2 in the NFL); and outstanding special teams.

With opponents stacking eight and nine players on the line of scrimmage to shut down Lewis and the ground game, Wright gives the team a better chance to make plays with his running ability and strong arm.

“He is a scrambler and an athlete,” Dolphins middle linebacker Junior Seau said. “We can’t pick up tendencies on him, because there isn’t much film. He is the type of quarterback that can go in there and spark a team that is ready to go. Hopefully, that won’t happen this week.”

The Ravens signed journeyman quarterback Ray Lucas on Tuesday as the team’s third quarterback.

The last time Wright started a game was Oct.15, 2001, when he beat the Redskins 9-7 for his only win as the Cowboys’ starter. This preseason with the Ravens, Wright completed 16 of 28 for 186 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions and a 59.5 passer rating.

“[Ravens coaches] called me in before the season started, they told me the situation, told me how they were going to work this entire thing out, and just told I had to sit back and wait for my chance,” he said. “That’s what I did. I never once got upset or blew up. If no one had told me what was happening or what was going down, then things might have been different.”


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