QB Stewart expected to be released today




Despite coming off a performance that was as exciting as it was vintage, Ravens quarterback Kordell Stewart is expected to be released by the team as early as today.

Stewart's release would open a roster spot for running back Musa Smith, who is likely to be activated today from the physically-unable-to-perform list.

Quarterback Kyle Boller will start Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars, and Anthony Wright will be his backup. The Ravens also have Brian St. Pierre on the practice squad as the third quarterback.

Stewart created a buzz at M&T Bank Stadium after replacing Wright for a series spanning into the fourth quarter during Sunday's 21-9 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. In 11 plays, Stewart moved the Ravens 49 yards (30 with his legs) to the Bengals' 6 before taking a sack on a third down.

His scrambles - one faked a Bengals linebacker so badly, he was in midair as Stewart ran around him - resembled Stewart's former "Slash" self, a player who was equally adept at running and throwing.

Stewart's most memorable moment came on a wide receiver option. Stewart handed the ball to Randy Hymes from shotgun formation, then slipped out of the backfield to the opposite side of the play. But Hymes overthrew an open Stewart for what would have been a 26-yard touchdown pass.

The Ravens eventually settled for a Matt Stover field goal to close their deficit to 14-9.

It was an unorthodox two-year Ravens stint for Stewart, who had more punts (five) and near catches (one) than passes (zero).

Stewart played quarterback for two series against the New York Giants last season and handed off five times. His only other action was replacing an injured Dave Zastudil and punting against the New York Jets. Two of Stewart's punts landed inside the 20-yard line.

Reed likely out vs. Jags

It looks like Ed Reed will miss his third straight game Sunday with a high ankle sprain. The Ravens still hope to have the Pro Bowl safety back, but an injury like Reed's generally keeps a player out at least four games.

"Still in that gray area right now," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "We're in pretty good shape. I don't know any more about Ed or Ray [Lewis] than I did before. Ed is progressing very well, but I don't know if it's to the point where he could play this week."

Cornerback Dale Carter (hamstring) left Sunday's game in the first half and did not return, and defensive end Jarret Johnson suffered a bruised knee.

"We're probably another day away from seeing exactly where they are with regards to their availability," Billick said. "As of right now, the training staff has not said this player or that player is doubtful for the game."

All in the Billick family

Billick will have a little extra motivation in facing Jacksonville coach Jack Del Rio and defensive coordinator Mike Smith. Both coaches used to be with the Ravens, and Smith, in particular, is close to his former boss.

Smith is Billick's brother-in-law.

"You don't think my life's hell at home [if we lose]?" Billick said. "My mother-in-law is staying with me this month. So who gets top priority in the favorite son-in-law status has directly to do with the wins and losses. That's the great part of the game; you love those interactions."

Looking for red-zone help

If you see a different wrinkle the next time the Ravens get into the red zone, there is a good chance the play could have come from someplace else.

Billick studies other NFL teams' game film on Fridays, scouring for ideas that might help his team. With the Ravens' struggles scoring touchdowns this season, it might be time to implement new ideas.

"I spend most of Friday ... looking at what other teams in the league are doing," Billick said. "Is there anything we can steal? Is there anything that would fit our personality? It's a constant battle on our part to try and find that right combination to try and create that productivity."


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