Ravens keep backlog

Trimming 2 QBs, team retains 7 corners and 7 running backs

September 03, 2006|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,Sun Reporter

The Ravens' final major cutdown yesterday came with a few mild surprises, as the team decided to keep two quarterbacks while stocking up on running backs and cornerbacks.

The Ravens cut former No. 3 quarterback Brian St. Pierre after a rocky preseason along with rookie Drew Olson (who is expected to be added to the practice squad), leaving them with only two quarterbacks (Steve McNair and Kyle Boller) on their 53-man roster.

The Ravens then chose to hold onto seven running backs (fourth-round pick P.J. Daniels and undrafted rookie Cory Ross made the cut) and seven cornerbacks. That meant the Ravens kept fewer players than usual on the offensive line (only eight) and safety (just three).

It wouldn't be surprising to see the Ravens pick up a veteran quarterback, offensive lineman or safety released by another team yesterday.

In total, the Ravens retained all but one of their 10 draft picks, trading seventh-round linebacker Ryan LaCasse to the Indianapolis Colts for an undisclosed draft pick. Two undrafted rookies (Ross and cornerback Ronnie Prude) survived the final cuts.

The other cuts made by the Ravens yesterday were: linebackers Dennis Haley and Tim Johnson, safety Jamaine Winborne, tight end Rob Abiamiri, receiver Romby Bryant, offensive tackle Michael Kracalik and defensive tackle Nick Leaders.


Roster breakdown

Quarterbacks / / Starter - Steve McNair. Backup - Kyle Boller. McNair completed an astounding 76 percent of his passes in the preseason and finished with a quarterback rating of 94. Boller starts the season as a backup for the first time in his shaky four-year career.

Running backs / / Starter -Jamal Lewis. Backups -Mike Anderson, Musa Smith, P.J. Daniels, Cory Ross, Justin Green, Ovie Mughelli. Lewis will start the regular-season opener after missing the final two preseason games with a hip injury. It'll be interesting to see whether it will be Smith or Anderson who spells Lewis. With the Ravens de-emphasizing the fullback position, Green and Mughelli will make their impact on special teams.

Tight ends / / Starters - Todd Heap, Daniel Wilcox. Backup - Quinn Sypniewski. Heap is looking to return to the Pro Bowl after a two-year absence, and Wilcox will have a more prominent role as the H-back. Sypniewski is the team's blocking tight end.

Wide receivers / /: Starters - Derrick Mason, Mark Clayton. Backups - Clarence Moore, Devard Darling, Demetrius Williams. Mason and Clayton are the best starting receivers in the Brian Billick era. Moore, Darling and Williams should all see action at some point this season. Williams, a fourth-round pick, could turn out to be the best out of this year's rookie class.

Offensive line / /: Starters - LT Jonathan Ogden, LG Edwin Mulitalo, C Mike Flynn, RG Keydrick Vincent, RT Tony Pashos. Backups - T Adam Terry, C-G Jason Brown, C-G Chris Chester. The Ravens are hoping Ogden, Mulitalo and Flynn rebound from subpar seasons. Vincent and Pashos remain the biggest question marks of this criticized unit. It'll be interesting to see if Terry, Brown or Chester will get on the field at some point this season.

Defensive line / /Starters - DLE Trevor Pryce, NT Kelly Gregg, DT Haloti Ngata, DRE Terrell Suggs. Backups - DE Jarret Johnson, DT Justin Bannan, DT Dwan Edwards, NT Aubrayo Franklin. Pryce and Ngata are the newcomers to this group. Gregg is one of the more underrated nose tackles. Suggs started to come on strong at the end of the preseason.

Linebackers / / Starters - LOLB Adalius Thomas, MLB Ray Lewis, ROLB Bart Scott. Backups - OLB Dan Cody, OLB Gary Stills, ILB Mike Smith. Thomas and Scott are two of the best young linebackers in the league. Lewis hasn't played a full game since mid-October. Cody will be a rush specialist who plays end in passing situations.

Defensive backs / / Starters - LCB Chris McAlister, RCB Samari Rolle, SS Dawan Landry, FS Ed Reed. Backups - CB Corey Ivy, S Gerome Sapp, CB Ronnie Prude, CB Evan Oglesby, CB Derrick Martin, CB David Pittman. Landry, a fifth-round pick, is the first rookie since Will Demps in 2002 to be a full-time starter in the Ravens' secondary. McAlister, Rolle and Reed have combined for five Pro Bowls. Ivy, a free-agent pickup from the St. Louis Rams, takes over for Deion Sanders as the nickel back.

Special teams / / K Matt Stover, P Sam Koch, LS Matt Katula, KOR/PR B.J. Sams. Stover is the third-most accurate field-goal kicker in NFL history. Koch, a sixth-round pick, averaged 45.1 yards on punts, which was 11th best in the league this preseason. He'll also handle kickoffs. Sams, who was second in the NFL in punt returns last season, is back for his third year. [Jamison Hensley]

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