The Baltimore Ravens roster will be a work in progress right up until the beginning of the regular season. Of course it could be said that a pro football roster is continuously in progress, as the 53-man roster and additional practice squad is weekly retooled into the 46 who will be active for the game.
This is the second in a series of articles that attempt a logical approach to a first look at the possible 2014 Baltimore Ravens roster. The first article which gives an overview of this process can be found HERE. On our projection of the 53-man roster so far are the three personnel from the kicking game, and today we will add two quarterbacks.
I know this is being really brash and presumptive, but you can say you heard it stated first on The Baltimore Wire that Joe Flacco is going to earn the starting QB job for the Baltimore Ravens in 2014.
Joe Flacco – Starting Quarterback
Writing a summary paragraph about Joe Flacco and his role and importance for the Baltimore Ravens is a little bit like writing a paragraph about what Abraham Lincoln did as a President to be so highly regarded in American history. A number shared by Lincoln and Flacco is #16 – the 16th POTUS and the number of games that Flacco starts every year for the Ravens. That is no small thing. After six years, it is now 96 consecutive regular season games, with 13 additional playoff contests as well.
Joe Flacco’s combined record as a starter is 62-34, with an average of 224 yards passing per game. And though Flacco could be criticized for certain negative numbers in 2013 that were beyond those seen previously, there are plenty of asterisks that may be inserted justly as at least partial explanations. Even as he made some ill-advised passes last year, it really is difficult to be a star when you are running for your life and people are hanging on your passing arm. Though he threw 22 interceptions (10 more than any other previous year), he was also sacked 48 times (13 more than the average of 35 for the previous five seasons). His 614 total attempts were 70 more than any other year, attesting to the anemic nature of the running game.
All of these problems WILL BE FIXED IN 2014! … with Joe Flacco at the helm.
Tyrod Taylor – Backup Quarterback
Tyrod Taylor has played in 13 games for the Baltimore Ravens over the past three seasons and completed 19 of 35 passes. He is in the final year of his contract, and as a fixture around the team will likely retain his backup position. However, the Ravens needed to be grooming another player, and the next name will be that guy. It is unlikely that three QBs will be kept on the roster, though that is not impossible.
Keith Wenning – Practice Squad
The Ravens drafted Keith Wenning in round six with the 194th overall selection. Though he will clearly be given the chance to be the backup QB rather than Taylor, it could be a grooming year on the practice squad as he learns all he can about the system and NFL play.
A big guy at 6-3, 220, Wenning has a strong arm. At Ball State this past year, he accumulated 4,148 passing yards (64.1%) and 35 touchdowns, with only seven interceptions. As a four-year starter there, he tossed an incredible total of 91 touchdowns and 11,402 yards passing. That is 6.5 miles through the air!
Reports are that he looked exceptionally good in rookie camp. It will be difficult to imagine the Ravens not finding a way to retain an arm like this.
Nick Stephens – Waived Again
The former Tarleton State QB, who had transferred there from Tennessee, was signed in 2012 as a rookie free agent by the Titans. He was waived by them in August of 2012, and a year and a day later was waived by the Cowboys. Stephens joined the Ravens’ practice squad at the end of October last year. But the numbers this year push him down and out and waived again in August of this year.
UPDATE>> Since this article was originally written, Nick Stephens was indeed waived – on May 30th.
In our next piece we will move on to look at the rest of the backfield by talking about running back options.