4 Baltimore Ravens A new season means a new quarterback, and Chris Redman is as raw as they come

September 01, 2002

In the huddle he gathers his teammates close, tightening the
circle of players in a way that would make his father, a
longtime high school coach, proud. He barks signals with
authority and, knowing all eyes are focused on him, doesn't let
his head drop or his shoulders slump whenever he makes a
mistake. For while there are plenty of uncertainties about Chris
Redman, he at least understands the importance of an NFL
quarterback's body language.

Entering his third season with only three pass attempts to his
credit, Redman has much to prove. What's more, he takes over the
Ravens' offense at perhaps the worst possible time. Salary-cap
constraints cost Baltimore its top two receivers from last
year--tight end Shannon Sharpe and wide receiver Qadry
Ismail--and decimated its once-dominant defense.

One of the few things Redman has going for him is that he's not
following in the footsteps of any legends. "Getting used to a new
quarterback is nothing new around here," says All-Pro tackle
Jonathan Ogden. "I've played with six starters in six years--Vinny
Testaverde, Jim Harbaugh, Tony Banks, Scott Mitchell, Trent
Dilfer and Elvis Grbac. I don't know if Redman will stick, but I
think he has what it takes."

At least Brian Billick, who started six players at quarterback in
his first three seasons as coach, won't be asking too much of
Redman. Using the formula that produced a Super Bowl title two
seasons ago, Baltimore will rely on workhorse running back Jamal
Lewis, who is coming off reconstructive knee surgery that
sidelined him for all of last season, and the defense, which will
be expected to keep the game close. Even Redman says, "If I have
a completion percentage around 60 percent and I don't force
anything, I think Coach Billick will be pleased."

Redman played under his dad, Bob, at Male High in Louisville,
then stayed close to home for college. During his four-year
career at the University of Louisville he set Division I-A career
records for completions and attempts. The Ravens snapped him up
in the third round of the 2000 draft.

Baltimore coaches used training camp as an opportunity to school
Redman in the basics. They drilled him on fronts, coverages,
everything imaginable. Redman has also received pointers from his
predecessors. Dilfer taught him to remind teammates of their
responsibilities while in the huddle. Grbac showed him tapes of
Joe Montana's footwork. Randall Cunningham offered advice on how
to stay cool under pressure. Redman also learned from watching
some of those guys fail, especially Grbac, who tossed 18
interceptions against 15 touchdowns last season and then abruptly
retired after refusing to restructure his contract.

"Chris has not seen a guy be successful at that position for a
couple of years, and I wish he'd had that," says offensive
coordinator Matt Cavanaugh. "Then again, he's seen our
frustrations with the other guys who've been here and watched us
chew them out, so he's aware of what we expect from him and how
he'll be treated."

Given their recent history, and the fact that they didn't re-sign
Cunningham, the Ravens needed insurance at quarterback. They
picked up free agent Jeff Blake, an 11-year veteran who spent the
past two seasons with the Saints. As Billick points out, it's not
unusual to have a battle-tested backup at quarterback, but he
also realizes that Redman--who didn't impress early in camp--is an
NFL neophyte, and the Ravens could suffer from his growing pains.
Blake might become a better option.

"Chris needs experience, and that won't come after four preseason
games," Billick says. "It may take a whole year to find out where
he fits into our puzzle. He has the attributes to be a good
quarterback, but this is the one position where you can never
tell how good someone will be. You don't really know until you
see him play." --J.C.

COLOR PHOTO: ROBERTO BOREA/AP Predecessors may have given him some pointers, but Redman is learning on the fly. COLOR PHOTO: NFL PHOTOS REED

NEW TWIST

A prototypical speed rusher in the 4-3 since he came to
Baltimore in 1997, Michael McCrary moves to end in the Ravens'
new 3-4. He'll face constant double and triple teams while
pounding against 300-pound linemen. McCrary has a nonstop motor,
but how will he hold up after undergoing major knee surgery last
November?

ENEMY LINES an opposing team's scout sizes up the Ravens

"It will be interesting to see what happens with Jamal Lewis.
This is his second torn knee ligament, and it took him two years
to come back from the last one. People forget that he only had a
decent junior season at Tennessee [Lewis sustained his first
injury as a sophomore], and he didn't start playing well in
Baltimore until late in his rookie year.... Their offensive line
isn't very good. Jonathan Ogden is the only guy who's a
player.... Their receivers aren't impressive, and I don't think
they're real happy with Travis Taylor. They were really excited
about him as a rookie, but now they're talking about him less
and less. I like his talent, but he always seems to be nicked
up.... Everybody talks about what they lost on defense, but the
coaches they lost will hurt them the most. They would have liked
to replace [defensive coordinator] Marvin Lewis with
[linebackers coach] Jack Del Rio, but Del Rio had already taken
the coordinator's job in Carolina.... If they stick with the
3-4, Peter Boulware could have a big year. He's always been a
tweener who's probably best suited to be a stand-up pass
rusher.... I like Ed Reed. He's a ball hawk, a leader, and he's
used to winning. He'll need to grow up in a hurry because Chris
McAlister is the only other player they have in the
secondary.... People say they are going to be a pushover, but I
don't buy it. Brian Billick will have those guys ready, and by
the end of the season they'll be competitive."

SCHEDULE

Sept. 8 at Carolina
15 TAMPA BAY
22 Open date
30 DENVER (Mon.)

Oct. 6 at Cleveland
13 at Indianapolis
20 JACKSONVILLE
27 PITTSBURGH

Nov. 3 at Atlanta
10 CINCINNATI
17 at Miami
24 TENNESSEE

Dec. 1 at Cincinnati
8 NEW ORLEANS
15 at Houston
22 CLEVELAND
29 at Pittsburgh

SCHEDULE STRENGTH

NFL rank: 27
Opponents' 2001 winning percentage: .475
Games against playoff teams: 4

PROJECTED LINEUP with 2001 statistics

COACH: Brian Billick; fourth season with Baltimore (30-18 in NFL)
2001 RECORD: 10-6 (second in AFC Central)
NFL Rank (rush/pass/total): offense 11/16/14; defense 4/8/2

OFFENSIVE BACKS PVR*

QB Chris Redman [1] 168
3 att. 2 comp. 66.7% 19 yds. 0 TDs 0 int. 84.0 rtg.

RB Jamal Lewis 45
309 att. 1,364 yds. 4.4 avg. 27 rec. 296 yds. 11.0 avg. 6 TDs

RB Chester Taylor (R) [N] 127
268 att. 1,492 yds. 5.6 avg. 26 rec. 242 yds. 9.3 avg. 23 TDs

FB Alan Ricard 473
0 att. 0 yds. no avg. 0 rec. 0 yds. no avg. 0 TDs

RECEIVERS, SPECIALISTS, OFFENSIVE LINEMEN

[PVR*]

WR Travis Taylor 137 42 rec. 560 yds. 3 TDs
WR Brandon Stokley 162 24 rec. 344 yds. 2 TDs
WR Ron Johnson (R) [N] 164 56 rec. 895 yds. 9 TDs
TE Todd Heap 246 16 rec. 206 yds. 1 TD
K Matt Stover 175 25/25 XPs 30/35 FGs 115 pts.
PR Lamont Brightful (R) [N] 373 0 ret. no avg. 0 TDs
KR Lamont Brightful (R) [N] 373 24 ret. 24.3 avg. 1 TD

LT Jonathan Ogden 6'8" 340 lbs. 16 games 16 starts
LG Casey Rabach 6'4" 301 lbs. 0 games 0 starts
C Mike Flynn 6'3" 300 lbs. 16 games 16 starts
RG Bennie Anderson 6'5" 305 lbs. 16 games 13 starts
RT Edwin Mulitalo 6'3" 340 lbs. 14 games 14 starts

DEFENSE

LE Tony Weaver (R) [N] 59 tackles 7 sacks
NT Kelly Gregg 7 tackles 1 sack
RE Michael McCrary 34 tackles 7 1/2 sacks
OLB Adalius Thomas 30 tackles 3 1/2 sacks
ILB Ed Hartwell 6 tackles 0 sacks
ILB Ray Lewis 112 tackles 3 1/2 sacks
OLB Peter Boulware 43 tackles 15 sacks
CB Chris McAlister 63 tackles 1 int.
SS Anthony Mitchell 18 tackles 0 int.
FS Ed Reed (R) [N] 44 tackles 9 int.
CB Gary Baxter 5 tackles 0 int.
P Dave Zastudil (R) [N] 50 punts 45.6 avg.

[N] New acquisition
(R) Rookie (statistics for final college year)
*PVR: Player Value Ranking (explanation on page 98)
[1] 2000 statistics

"People say they are going to be a pushover, but I don't buy it.
Billick will have those guys ready."

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)