Lessons coming fast for new Ravens QB Keith Wenning

Former Ball State standout was drafted in sixth round

May 17, 2014|By Jeff Zrebiec, The Baltimore Sun

Keith Wenning exhibited nice touch in hitting wide receiver Jeremy Butler down the right sideline. Several plays later, Wenning found tight end Crockett Gillmore in the middle of the field, one of several catches on the day for the third-round selection.

The Ball State quarterback, who was taken in the sixth round of last week’s draft, showed plenty of accuracy and arm strength on the second official day of the Ravens’ rookie minicamp. But it’s everything leading up to the 6-foot-3 quarterback bringing back his right arm and letting the ball go that has been the biggest challenge for Wenning this week.

“I just want to improve my speed of game, understanding the offense. That’s the hardest part for me, just get the offense down and let my ability, smarts and intangibles come out at me,” Wenning said. “It’s definitely hard to play fast when you’re thinking a lot, but it’s coming day-by-day and we’re trying to get better each day.”

Wenning threw for 11,402 yards and 92 touchdowns – both Ball State records – during his college career. He also finished his career with the fourth most touchdown passes, passing attempts and completions and the sixth-most passing yards in Mid-American Conference history.

Looking for some insurance at the position with current backup Tyrod Taylor eligible for free agency after the 2014 season, the Ravens wanted to find a developmental quarterback in the draft. They liked Wenning’s size and skill set and the intangibles that he brought. He was a two-time team captain and he engineered 10 fourth-quarter comeback victories in his Ball State career.

After watching him for a couple of days this week, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said two things have stood out.     

“Really nice touch … and also he has a strong arm,” Harbaugh said after today’s workout. “He is a big, strong guy. Those guys are all under siege right now from [offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak and quarterbacks coach Rick Dennison] to have their eyes and their feet where they’re supposed to be, and he is no different. But he has talent.”

Wenning said that he has talked with both starter Joe Flacco and Taylor, and he’s excited to spend more time around the veterans. His primary focus, however, is to become more familiar with the Ravens’ playbook.  

“It’s a lot of learning, it’s a lot of trying to soak in a completely different offense, different terminology, all that kind of stuff,” Wenning said. “But coming out and being with new guys and learning a new system is fun. We’re still playing football, we’re still trying to get better and work on things every day, so it’s been a big first week.”

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