QB Camp: The battle for Flacco’s backup


The Ravens have their starting quarterback written in permanent marker.

He isn’t going anywhere.

There won’t be any quarterback controversies; no murmurs of xy or z “making every throw,” or “winning over coaches.”

Well, there might be, but those quotes will be for another roster battle altogether: the backup job.

The Ravens drafted Keith Wenning out of Ball State in the sixth round of the draft, and the expectation was that he would take over immediately as the backup.  Tyrod Taylor had been in the wings for the past few years, however failed to develop as expected as a passer to the point of confidence.  As a result, there will be a competition between the two to see who stakes claim to the second roster spot.

Wenning has been praised for his throwing talent, and despite lackluster reports of his arm strength coming into the draft, he impressed some coaches with his throwing power.  The other side of that equation is Wenning’s touch, and the Ravens’ personnel haven’t been shy when praising his touch on deep passes.  That talent may have contributed somewhat to the slights on arm strength, and perhaps some people misperceived conscience efforts to throw softly as inability to throw hard.

That being said, Wenning is a rookie.  He has struggled some with the transition — as any rookie does — and at this point his brain is moving 100x faster than his arm and body.  When he just plays the game, his talent is evident.  The struggle is getting up to speed.  He is certainly surrounding himself with quality tutelage:

On the other side, Tyrod Taylor just hasn’t taken the next step.  Possessing a speed of his own, Taylor has struggled to shake the perception of “scrambling quarterback” and has not been great from the pocket.  He has flashed his tremendous ability in games at times, only to come back the next play and make a poor decision.  Consistency and pass accuracy are key for Taylor, and with the trends of today’s NFL and the rollout-heavy offense of Gary Kubiak, there are reasons to have high hopes for the former Hokie.

Tyrod Taylor has also been surrounding himself with veteran knowledge in hopes of hitting his stride:

Jeff Garcia played a similar style of football as Tyrod Taylor, and hopefully his wisdom as a smaller, mobile quarterback can help.

The possibility remains that the Ravens will bring in a quarterback that is already familiar with Kubiak’s scheme, as they were attached to now-Falcon T.J. Yates before he was traded.  That move will likely hinge on the performances of Wenning and Taylor, and it will be a wait-and-see.

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