Return of Testaverde fans old Ravens flame

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

Franchise's original starting QB is still its all-time leading passer

Ravens

Notebook

September 29, 2005|By BRENT JONES | BRENT JONES,SUN REPORTER

As the Ravens continue to celebrate their first 10 years of football, it seems fitting that a big piece of the first two will make his return to the city.

New York Jets quarterback Vinny Testaverde will back up newly minted starter Brooks Bollinger Sunday, marking the second straight year Testaverde will return to M&T Bank Stadium to face the franchise he led during its inaugural season.

Although Testaverde will not start, Jets coach Herman Edwards has not ruled out using the 18-year veteran at some point. Testaverde, who started for the Dallas Cowboys last year and lost, 30-10, to the Ravens, was out of football until the Jets signed him Tuesday.

Testaverde is familiar with the Jets' system, having played with the team from 1998 to 2003, leaving Edwards a viable option if Bollinger struggles.

"There is a little different style with Vinny than the other quarterbacks they've had," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "We'll have to account for that. How much he can absorb and what their plans are for him in the first game, we may have to adapt for that."

Testaverde is the all-time leading passer for the Ravens with 7,148 yards, 51 touchdowns and 34 interceptions. He owns 25 franchise records, including most 300-yard games (eight), most consecutive games with a touchdown pass (13) and most times sacked (54).

"I think he went out [yesterday] and practiced pretty well," Edwards said. "He can still throw the football and just needs to get his legs a little bit into shape."

Testaverde is one of five quarterbacks on the Jets' roster as the team scrambles to replace Chad Pennington and Jay Fiedler, both of whom might be gone for the season. An orthopedist in Alabama confirmed that Pennington has a torn rotator cuff, an injury that generally sidelines players for the season.

The Jets also signed Kliff Kingsbury to be the third quarterback Sunday.

All quiet on the injury front

As stated earlier this week by Billick, the Ravens are nearly completely healthy for Sunday's game.

Quarterback Kyle Boller (foot, out) is the only player on the team's injury report, the lowest number for the Ravens in years.

The Jets have six starters on their injury report, including linebacker Eric Barton (Maryland), who is out with a hurt ankle.

Jets offensive tackle Jason Fabini (knee) is questionable.

R. Lewis: Not all positions are equal

Linebacker Ray Lewis laughed off a question about whether losing a starting quarterback as the Jets have is akin to losing himself from the Ravens' defense.

"I think that's just a totally different situation," Lewis said. "Like I said, a quarterback, 60 percent of the time, he's just handing the ball off to his running back. I'm not. There's a lot of other stuff that I do on the field. It's not even a comparison."

J. Lewis welcomes fullback help

Jamal Lewis gave his biggest endorsement of the Ravens' likely recommitment to a power running game.

The Ravens are expected to put fullback Alan Ricard, inactive the first two games with what the team says was a lingering calf injury, back in the lineup. Without Ricard, the Ravens have averaged 45.5 yards a game on the ground, worst in the NFL.

"You don't think a fullback would make that much of a difference, but when you're trying to be a physical team, when you're trying to have that demeanor as a physical offensive team and you want to wear the defense down and carry the ball in the third and fourth quarter, you can't do that without a fullback," Lewis said.

Elling ready to kick into gear

Kickoff specialist Aaron Elling might see his first action with the Ravens Sunday. Elling signed Tuesday with the team, a move that should relieve Matt Stover of the duties for most games. Elling, who can also punt, spent much of the past two seasons with the Minnesota Vikings. "I just want to go out there and hit a nice solid ball, make sure it gets a good hang and in a direction of where we want to go," Elling said.

brent.jones@baltsun.com

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