Redman, Boller to fight out who starts

Cavanaugh says choice isn't made

praises veteran

NFL Draft

April 27, 2003|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

The selection of California's Kyle Boller in the first round gives the Ravens their quarterback of the future and controversy of the present.

Boller will battle last year's Week 1 starter, Chris Redman, starting today, when he is expected to get the playbook, through training camp in what will amount to a good, old-fashioned quarterback competition.

A year ago, Redman was thought to be the quarterback of the future before he injured his back six games into the season. Redman was 3-3, completed 97 of 182 passes for 1,034 yards, seven touchdowns and three interceptions while progressing steadily each game.

None of that means much now as Boller will have a legitimate chance to become the starter. Boller's arm is stronger and he is more elusive than Redman, who has the edge in accuracy and experience.

"If I could say deep in my heart, I think this guy is going to run away with it, then I'd say so," offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh said. "I really think they are both talented guys. But I don't think that because Kyle is a first-round pick and we haven't had one here that he is automatically the guy.

"I think he is certainly going to be the future, but we are talking about the present, and Chris is going to have every opportunity to win the job."

Team officials have been high on Boller since the NFL combine. But nearly a year ago, the Ravens were expressing a significant amount of belief in Redman. Despite the implications of drafting a quarterback in the first round, the Ravens say they have not lost faith in Redman.

"We believe in both of them," Cavanaugh said. "I think the good thing for Chris is that it puts somebody right on his hip that is pressing him every day. Chris needs that. Chris needs to look at this like, `They want me to play, but they also drafted somebody that they are probably going to want to play if I don't come out and do the things they expect me to do.' Personality-wise, I think these two will get along like the best of friends."

Redman had successful back surgery after the season and has been participating in the Ravens' offseason workout program. He will likely do some light throwing at next month's minicamp.

Boller's arrival also means the Ravens will not pursue Denver quarterback Brian Griese when he is released in June.

"We're excited about Kyle Boller," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "We're excited about Chris Redman, the way Chris is coming around with rehab. That's a pivotal position, and we feel like we have it staffed pretty well right now.

"I wouldn't preclude bringing a veteran in, but right now that's not a high priority."

What will be is the development of Boller in time for training camp. The Ravens will focus more mentally with Boller than physically in order to close the gap between he and Redman.

"Does Chris have an edge over everybody? He sure does," receivers/quarterbacks coach David Shaw said. "I talked to Chris this week, and he's ready for the challenge. Now it's our job as a staff to continue to progress with Chris as well as Kyle and Anthony Wright."

While Redman could not be reached for comment, Boller said he was hoping to be drafted by the Ravens. He visited the team two weeks ago and met nearly the entire coaching staff.

"I'm going to come in there and whatever my place is on the team wherever they need me to be [I'll play]," Boller said. "I'm not going to try and stomp over people; I'm going to try and earn my way and do whatever they want me to do."

Cavanaugh said he spoke with Redman last week about the strong possibility of the Ravens drafting a quarterback.

"We want somebody to look at this like a big challenge, that this is something that he rises above and competes to be a starter."

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