Ravens' Wright content to wait

His rehab near complete, QB accepts secondary role even as Boller struggles

Pro Football

October 13, 2004|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

With the Ravens' passing offense frighteningly close to being in disarray, backup quarterback Anthony Wright isn't sitting in a corner of the locker room with a smirk on his face.

He also has no plans to undermine starter Kyle Boller to retake a position he held at the end of last season.

And he is not bemoaning the coach's insistence that Boller will remain the quarterback, even though Wright will soon be healthy enough to handle the job.

What Wright is doing - much to the delight of team officials - is preparing his surgically repaired shoulder for action while remaining inconspicuous in hopes that, with or without him, the Ravens find more consistency from a passing game that should get tight end Todd Heap and wide receiver Travis Taylor back by the end of this month.

"It's been tough because I want to help this team win," Wright said. "But I understand the nature of this business and the game. All I can really concern myself with is the things that I can do. That's what I'm going to do."

When the Ravens reconvene for practice Sunday, Wright is expected to have his most extensive throwing day since he had surgery for a torn labrum in May. Wright will throw off to the side again on Monday, and if all goes well, the Ravens could officially remove Wright from the physically-unable-to-perform list and allow him to practice with the team heading into the Oct. 24 game against the Buffalo Bills.

Those prospective practices, though, will be far different from the ones he participated in the last time he was with the team.

Back then, Wright was playing through the injured shoulder, readying the Ravens for what would be a playoff loss to the Tennessee Titans.

His chance to run the team originally came midway through the season at the expense of an injury to Boller. Wright took advantage of the most extensive action of his career, and the Ravens rewarded him with a two-year contract after the season.

Wright led the team to a division title, going 5-2 to close out the regular season. Still, the Ravens have invested a No. 1 pick in Boller, continue to like his upside and have no plans of allowing Wright even a shot to spark the offense.

"Regardless of the injury, he knew coming into this season that we were going to make this Kyle's job," offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh said. "And I think he understood that. He made a conscious decision, and we got him signed under those circumstances. I don't think there is going to be any sense of, `Now that I'm healthy, I don't understand why you are not playing me.' I think he's smarter than that."

Cavanaugh went on to liken Wright's situation to Kordell Stewart. Stewart began last season as a starter with the Chicago Bears but fell so far out of favor, the Bears cut him at the end of the year.

Stewart swallowed his pride and accepted a role as a backup with the Ravens. With Wright set to return, Stewart may have to do even more swallowing, accepting a new role even for him as a third-string quarterback.

The good news for Stewart is that the Ravens plan on keeping three quarterbacks.

"That would be our plan right now," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "That had been our plan all along."

As has been the decision to allow Boller to take every snap, no matter how dreary things appear to be. Boller threw three interceptions in the Ravens' 17-10 win over the Washington Redskins, and the offense is averaging 130 passing yards a game.

Wright threw for more than 130 yards in five of his starts last year, but he also completed just 52.8 percent of his passes, compared with Boller's current 56.9 completion percentage this season.

"We've made our decision. We like the guy that we've got," Cavanaugh said. "Anthony is in a backup role, and unless something happens to Kyle, he probably is not going to get on the field. That's just something you learn as a backup that, `This is my lot right now, but when I'm needed, I'll be ready to go.' "

Wright essentially echoed that sentiment.

"I don't really listen to the outside talk," Wright said. "I try to stay out of the papers, off the television sets, off the radios. I try not to pay that stuff much attention and just focus on the job at hand, and that is whatever the coaches ask me to do. If Coach [Billick] comes to me one day and says, `Anthony, we want you to start,' then that's fine and well. But if he doesn't, that's fine and well also."

NOTES: Cornerback Lance Frazier was reportedly signed by the Dallas Cowboys off the Ravens' practice squad. ... Safety Ed Reed's 22-yard fumble return for a touchdown was nominated for the Play of the Week on NFL.com.

Next for Ravens

Matchup: Ravens (3-2) vs. Buffalo Bills (0-4)

Site: M&T Bank Stadium

When: Oct. 24, 1 p.m.

TV/Radio: Ch. 13/ WJFK (1300 AM), WQSR (102.7 FM)

On the Web

Readers can submit a question to Sun columnist Mike Preston about the Ravens at www.baltimoresun.com/sports. Responses to selected questions will be posted later this week.

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.