Redman, Robinson are in an arms race

Ravens' rookie QBs try to make their marks

Pro Football

June 09, 2000|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,SUN STAFF

Chris Redman and Dan Robinson decided to go back to basics.

After another week of trying to digest the playbook, the Ravens' rookie quarterbacks were the only players left on the field as the team's second passing camp came to a close yesterday at the Owings Mills complex. They set up a trash can on the goal line and launched nearly 50 balls at it from 40 yards away.

It had nothing to do with reading defenses. It had nothing to do with looking for the second or third receiver. It simply was about regaining their timing and stepping back from a rigorous crash course.

Redman and Robinson have learned more than 100 new routes over their 13 practices together and have to recall them in an instant. During drills, they have 10 seconds to hear the play from offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh, call it in the huddle, then walk up to the line of scrimmage while sorting out what to do themselves.

"You can bet their mind is going, `Wow,'" said Cavanaugh, who also duals as the quarterbacks coach. "Sometimes, I think they feel good if they just get it out of their mouth, let alone go and execute it. I tell them what they're going through is not unusual."

The coaching staff has given the new quarterbacks passing grades so far. But whereas these rookies share the same struggles at times, they sit in different situations.

Redman is projected as the Ravens' quarterback of the future; Robinson is fighting for a future.

Redman was the team's third-round draft choice out of Louisville and chats with former Colts Hall of Fame quarterback Johnny Unitas. Robinson was an unsigned free agent from the University of Hawaii and just turned 26 years old.

Redman appears earmarked for the third quarterback slot. Robinson is probably a long shot for the practice squad.

"Granted, it's an uphill battle," said Robinson. "But it's an uphill battle that I want to be in. It's been like this my entire career."

After two years on a Latter-day Saintsmission in Hong Kong, Robinson still had a long road to the NFL when he attended Ricks Junior College in Rexburg, Idaho, on an academic scholarship.

Robinson transferred to Hawaii, where his junior season was basically lost in a run-oriented option offense. The next year, pass-happy coach June Jones arrived from the San Diego Chargers.

Robinson responded by throwing for 4,119 yards and 29 touchdowns.

"Dan is a very mature young man, obviously given his age, beyond what you expect of a rookie," Ravens coach Brian Billick said.

Meanwhile, Redman takes pride in his accuracy and shows his frustration when he makes a wrong decision.

At Louisville, he completed 61 percent of his passes and finished as Division I's completion leader. But since he doesn't have the confidence in this system yet, Redman catches himself hesitating, which throws off his control.

"Every day, you feel a little more comfortable," Redman said.

NOTES: All-Pro linebacker Ray Lewis will hold a news conference today at 1 p.m. Ozzie Newsome, vice president of player personnel, said yesterday that there are no talks under wayto restructure Lewis' contract. But such a deal would benefit both sides. Lewis might need the extra money to cover legal fees and the team could create additional cap room by giving him a signing bonus that would be pro-rated in cap dollars over the length of his contract. ... Receiver Jermaine Lewis and tight end Greg DeLong sat out yesterday. Lewis was held out due to a minor groin injury, and DeLong had laser eye surgery.

Ravens schedule

June 12-15: Veterans camp

July 23: Players report to training camp at Western Maryland College

July 28: Scrimmage vs. Redskins at FedEx Field

July 29: Intrasquad scrimmage at Western Maryland College

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