Savage won't leave for just anywhere


Boller taking every snap a `rare occurrence' at QB

Pro Football

December 10, 2004|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,SUN STAFF

Phil Savage will remain as meticulous about his future as he has been with his draft picks.

Highly respected around the NFL for his talent evaluation skills, the Ravens' director of player personnel is expected to be a hot commodity next month, when teams will look to fill their top front-office positions.

Savage, 39, is already considered a candidate in the Cleveland Browns' general manager search, especially considering his NFL career began in Cleveland. Other teams who could potentially be seeking a top personnel man include the Miami Dolphins, New Orleans Saints and Seattle Seahawks.

But Savage has proved to be particular when it comes to what promotion he pursues.

He withdrew his name from consideration for the Chicago Bears' general manager job in 2001. About a year and half later, he had essentially locked up a similar position with the Jacksonville Jaguars before backing away when the deal included a low-ball salary and some questions regarding final authority over personnel decisions.

"I enjoy my position here with the Ravens," Savage said. "I have stayed with the Ravens because the best opportunity to succeed is here. With that being said, I have waited for a legitimate general manager position.

"In some ways, I feel like an underclassman who decided to go back and play his senior year."

Savage was named the Ravens' college scouting director when the franchise moved in 1996 and was promoted to the team's No. 2 personnel post under Ozzie Newsome six years later. He has been a major influence in the Ravens' successful drafting, which has produced nine Pro Bowl players in nine years.

Because Savage is under contract, teams are not allowed to interview him until the regular season is over because of NFL anti-tampering guidelines. If the Ravens reach the playoffs, there is a window that would allow Savage to meet with prospective teams.

Start to finish

For the first time in coach Brian Billick's six seasons with the Ravens, he might not have to make a switch to his backup quarterback.

Under Billick, quarterbacks who began the season as backups have made 41 starts either due to injury or the starter being benched. This season, Kyle Boller is one of four quarterbacks who have taken every snap for their teams.

"It is a rare occurrence because of the nature of the game," Billick said. "Hopefully, we can maintain that because every snap he continues to get, we're a better team and we're going to be a better team in the long run as he gets those experiences."

Boller's 21 starts are second on the Ravens' all-time list, ranking only behind Vinny Testaverde (29).

Rest for Moore

For rookie receiver Clarence Moore, getting open downfield is as much of a challenge lately as keeping his eyes open.

His receiving yards have decreased in each of the past three games. He had two catches for 9 yards Sunday.

"I want to take a nap so bad it's ridiculous," Moore said. "It's at that point where your body wants to shut down."

End zone

Long snapper Joe Maese (probable, back) was the only change to the Ravens' injury report. Receiver Travis Taylor (questionable, back) participated in every drill after being limited Wednesday. As for the status of running back Jamal Lewis (questionable, ankle) and nickel back Deion Sanders (questionable, foot), both of whom were limited in practice, Billick said, "So far, so good." ... Receiver Kevin Johnson has 14 catches on third downs, which is tops on the Ravens. No other receiver has more than nine receptions. ... The Ravens have lost three consecutive games in a season only twice under Billick. The last time was October 2000.

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