The recent signing of ex-Rams signalcaller Marc Bulger gives the Ravens four quarterbacks for what is likely to be, at most, three spots on the 53-player roster. The pecking order atop the depth chart is unquestioned: Joe Flacco is the starter, and Bulger told reporters in July that the Ravens made that clear as they pitched him on being a backup.
Bulger, who will reportedly make $3.8 million in salary this season, wants to help Flacco but does not want to overstep his bounds.
"I don't want to be the guy that comes in here and thinks I know it all and put too much on him," Bulger said on a conference call on July 15, according to a transcript on the club's Web site. "I'm going to let Joe let me know how much input he wants me to give. ... I had a great mentor in Kurt Warner who helped me when he was on the sideline (between offensive possessions), in the back helping me out. He just kind of let me guide him just to how much information he wanted. So, long answer short, I'll leave it up to Joe how much help he wants, but I'll be there for anything he needs."
Meanwhile, the Ravens are left to decide between keeping Troy Smith or John Beck if they are to keep a third quarterback. Whatever the outcome, the Ravens will undergo some change at the position. Both Flacco, in an interview with The Baltimore Sun, and Smith, who spoke with PFW earlier in July, have spoken about the solid relationship among Flacco, Smith and Beck, who were the team's three quarterbacks last season. Flacco, in the interview with The Baltimore Sun, said he hoped the club's current four quarterbacks would be able to "just all get along well." He told The Sun, "When you have a little bit of tension in the room, it doesn’t lend to playing well."
Bulger's addition — which came after the Ravens had wrapped up organized team activities — came as a surprise to many. But the Ravens, who have impressively addressed roster weaknesses all offseason, clearly wanted more experience behind Flacco, who enters his third NFL season. Beck and Smith, each fourth-year pros, have a combined six starts between them, with all coming in 2007. And if nothing else, another quarterback in training camp can't hurt (though Bulger certainly can't be confused with just a "camp arm" — and is definitely not being paid like one). Recall that Flacco earned the starting job two years ago after Smith (tonsillitis) and Kyle Boller (shoulder) became unavailable.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a personnel man and an experienced defensive assistant familiar with Bulger separately told PFW that Bulger still had starter-caliber talent and praised the signing from the Ravens' perspective. Both respondents said the addition of Bulger clearly signaled the Ravens believe they are serious Super Bowl contenders.
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