Redman gets work, Cunningham the call


Veteran QB expected to step in first if Grbac is sidelined by injury

Ravens notebook

September 08, 2001|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,SUN STAFF

Brian Billick said that a number of scenarios could play out this season at the Ravens' backup quarterback spot. The most likely is that Chris Redman will be the mop-up man, with Randall Cunningham coming in should Elvis Grbac go down with an injury.

Redman, a second-year pro who runs the scout team offense and gets the No. 2's practice repetitions, was 8 when Cunningham came into the NFL in 1985. The 16th-year pro is flattered that the Ravens think he can step in with less practice work than afforded a normal backup and understands the need to nurture Redman.

"I'm retiring after the end of the season, so there's no reason to try to get me more mature as a player," Cunningham said. "If I haven't matured by now ... I totally understand the situation, because you always have to be concerned about your future as a team. At the same time, it's weird because I've never been in this predicament before."

"It's important for him [Redman] to get reps. Whenever there's an injury and a backup has to go in, the game plan needs to be altered. The great thing is, Brian knows the kind of stuff of I like. I guarantee you, if he and Matt [Cavanaugh, the offensive coordinator] put a game plan together for me, I can accomplish a lot of good things in this offense. It just takes time."

Billick was Cunningham's coordinator during his MVP season with the Vikings in 1988, but said that this offense is different, tailored to Grbac's strengths. As Cunningham absorbs the nuances, Redman's is one of the brains he picks. The younger quarterback gets the grooming, meanwhile, and waits his turn.

"They want me to get as many reps in practice as possible," Redman said. "You wait your turn. I have confidence that Coach Billick knows when I'll be ready. I think he'll know when it's my time."

Starks doubtful?

Cornerback Duane Starks scoffed at yesterday's injury report, which listed him as doubtful. He hasn't played since injuring a knee Aug. 18 in a preseason game against the Jets but insisted that he will play in tomorrow's opener against the Bears.

"I had a good day of practice today, so I think I'll be playing," Starks said. "I got all the kinks just about out, and I've got another day to work on it."

James Trapp will start if Starks cannot play. With the Vikings' high-octane passing game looming in Week 2, Starks' good health is a must. He spent the conclusion of yesterday's practice on the sidelines as a precautionary measure, while Chris McAlister, the other cornerback who is listed as questionable with an ankle injury, finished the concluding full-team drills.

Steady Stover

Matt Stover enters his 12th season with a field goal in 26 straight regular-season games. It's the fourth-longest streak in NFL history - Minnesota's Fred Cox had a field goal in 31 games from 1968 to 1970; Jim Turner (Jets and Broncos, 1970-72) and Chip Lohmiller (Redskins, 1988-90) reached 28.

"I knew I had that streak going last year," Stover said. "It's a pretty good string."

Stover had a career- and NFL-high 135 points last season. His 80.9 percent success rate on field goals is the fifth-best career mark, and Stover is again prepared to provide an automatic three points once the offense gets inside the 30-yard line.

"When you can get three out of a situation, it makes decisions a little easier," Stover said. "I bring that confidence and experience to the table. As a kicker, what you want is the opportunity. Last week [the Giants exhibition], there was a pick [interception] or something when I was getting ready to kick a field goal, and I was mad. I'm always looking for that opportunity."

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