OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) Ryan Mallett is a second-string quarterback making the most of a second chance.
Mallett joined the Ravens in December after being cut two months earlier by Houston. Thrust almost immediately into a starting role, he carried Baltimore to a victory over Pittsburgh before throwing for 292 yards in a loss at Cincinnati.
Now that Joe Flacco stands atop the depth chart again following offseason knee surgery, Mallett has returned to the role he's held for much of his career: backup.
''I'm still going to prepare like I'm the starter every week,'' Mallett said after Wednesday's practice. ''That's the only way I'm going to be ready to go if something happens and my number is called.''
Flacco started 137 straight games before tearing two ligaments in his left knee on Nov. 22. Until that time, being the Ravens' backup quarterback pretty much meant tossing your helmet aside on Sunday and watching from the sideline.
Because there's no telling if Flacco's knee can take a pounding in game action, Mallett had better be ready to go.
''I've definitely spent more time in the offense. I'm a lot more comfortable,'' Mallett said. ''It's not just a week of preparation. I've had a spring now and a summer to prepare myself, and these first two weeks of training camp.''
Mallett has been nothing but professional since arriving in Baltimore. His tenure with the Texans, on the other hand, will be remembered for his misdeeds.
He was late for a practice session and late for the team bus. The Texans finally cut him after he missed the team charter flight for a game in Miami.
None of that matters to Ravens coach John Harbaugh.
''That's the thing about life, football, whatever. It doesn't end at your first mistake,'' Harbaugh said. ''You have a chance, hopefully, to do the right things. To bounce back.''
The 28-year-old Mallett is eager to move on. Short term, he's focused on facing the Carolina Panthers in Baltimore's preseason opener.
''I'm here to play football. I'm ready for the season to get started,'' Mallett said. ''I'm ready for Thursday night.''
Mallett was drafted in the third round in 2011 by the Patriots, who kept him on the bench behind Tom Brady for three straight seasons. He played in three games with Houston in 2014, starting twice, before bouncing from the Texans to Baltimore last year.
''Big guy, big arm, really sharp,'' Ravens quarterbacks coach Marty Morningweg said. ''He's had an outstanding camp. He can make some tremendous throws down the field.''
Mallett has the talent to start. For now, he remains in waiting mode.
''I wouldn't play if I didn't want to be a starter,'' Mallett said. ''That's not the situation right now. I understand my role on this team and I'm going to do that to the best of my ability.''
With Flacco likely to remain on the sideline Thursday, Mallett will get plenty of playing time leading up to the Sept. 11 regular-season opener against Buffalo.
''Ryan is a heck of a guy. He's a hard worker. He's a pro,'' Harbaugh said. ''It's going to be fun to watch him play. As far as a player for us, he's 1-1. He's .500. It's time for him to win some more games, and he'll have a chance to do that for us in the preseason.''
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