Zastudil might be No. 3 QB

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

Plan is to keep Redman, Blake, use rookie punter as emergency quarterback

August 27, 2002|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,SUN STAFF

For those who were surprised that the Ravens picked a punter in the fourth round, be prepared for another shocker.

The Ravens are planning on keeping two quarterbacks - Chris Redman and Jeff Blake - on their 53-man roster and going with punter Dave Zastudil as their third quarterback on game days. It's a move that would open a spot for kickoff specialist J.R. Jenkins and place reserve quarterback Wes Pate on the practice squad.

When asked about using Zastudil as the emergency quarterback, Ravens coach Brian Billick said, "That's certainly an intriguing possibility. If there is a 53rd person that could help this football team at a position where we could use him, certainly that possibility exits."

Jenkins would fit that description. The rookie has placed all of his 10 kickoffs inside the 10-yard line, including half of them inside the 2.

Plus, making Zastudil the third-string quarterback isn't considered that big of a risk. Billick has never had his top two quarterbacks get knocked out in the same game since he has been here, and he believes Zastudil could get the Ravens through a game in a pinch.

Zastudil was a three-year starting quarterback in high school and worked with the scout team at Ohio University. When the Ravens warmed up yesterday, Zastudil put a good spiral on his tosses to receivers.

So, did Zastudil ever think he would have a chance to play quarterback in the NFL?

"Maybe when I was a kid growing up," said Zastudil, who has averaged 41.1 yards on 16 punts this preseason. "If they need to me to run in there and play receiver, I would do that, too."

R. Lewis' real deal

Although Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis set the league record with his $19 million signing bonus, he did not rake in the entire bonus up front.

According to the contract filed recently, he will collect $10 million this year and will receive $9 million as a signing option in March that triggers the final five seasons on his seven-year, $48.5 million deal. His base salaries are: $525,000 (2002); $975,000 (2003); $4 million (2004); $5.5 million (2005 and 2006 each); $6.5 million (2007 and 2008 each).

His salary cap hits take a big jump every season, starting at $5.67 million in 2002 and escalating to $9.428 million in both 2007 and 2008. That means Lewis' deal would likely have to be restructured again in a few years.

13 rookies released

The Ravens cut their roster to 68 players by releasing 13 rookies: tight end Josh Bright, punter Alan Cox, linebackers Gary Davis and Louis Green, offensive lineman Dawani Fladger, running backs Sean Gregory and Derek Homer, receiver D.J. Humphries, quarterback Cleo Lemon, defensive tackle Josh McKibben, safeties Josh Robinson and Jeremy Unertl and long-snapper Brian Smith. The team also waived offensive lineman Dave Pruce after reaching an injury settlement.

The Ravens need to cut two more players to get to the roster limit by today's league-wide deadline. The team doesn't have to whittle its roster to 65 because receiver Kenyon Hambrick is an NFL Europe exemption.

All NFL teams must reduce their rosters to 53 by Sept. 1.

End zone

Running back Jamal Lewis is scheduled to go 20 to 25 plays in Thursday's preseason finale. He was held out of last week's game because of the dangerous turf at Veterans Stadium. ... Although Tony Weaver (high ankle sprain) did not practice, trainer Bill Tessendorf said the injured defensive end had his best day of rehabilitation. ... Cornerback Gary Baxter (hamstring) and outside linebacker Peter Boulware (ankle) both practiced. Defensive end Michael McCrary (knee), who was removed from the physically unable to perform list, was limited in his reps. ... Outside linebacker Adalius Thomas was excused from practice for personal reasons. He is expected to return today. ... Harry Swayne, the starting right tackle on the Ravens' Super Bowl team, visited practice.

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