Ravens practicing patience in backup quarterback search

With Marc Bulger announcing yesterday that he's retiring, the Ravens now have a glaring need for a backup quarterback.

The problem is, there are very few legitimate options out there on the free agent market. And when I say very few options, I mean very few options.

The current free agent quarterback crop consists of names like Todd Collins, Brodie Croyle, Jake Delhomme, J.P Losman, J.T. O'Sullivan, Patrick Ramsey, Chris Simms and Jim Sorgi. Not much there to pique the interest of NFL general managers.

As a result, the Ravens are playing the waiting game when it comes to their search for a backup quarterback, and while there's a possibility that they sign one of the guys listed above in the coming days, head coach John Harbaugh is willing to let sixth-round rookie Tyrod Taylor get the snaps as the team's backup for now.

"I think we will just see how our young guys do - see how No. 6 (Taylor) does over there - and then we will try and figure it out from there," Harbaugh said.

Luckily for the Ravens, they haven't needed much out of their various backup quarterbacks since Joe Flacco took over as the starter three years ago. In Flacco's three seasons at the reigns, he has not missed a single game because of injury, even battling through a painful hip and thigh bruise late in the 2009 season and into the playoffs that year.

Still, Harbaugh and GM Ozzie Newsome know the importance of having a capable backup quarterback, which is why they gave Bulger $3.8 million last year. Bulger didn't see a single regular season snap, but those in the organization considered his hefty salary a wise investment.

"Your backup quarterback is one play away from being your starting quarterback, so it is critically important," Harbaugh said. "You've got decisions to make. Sometimes you have to balance it out a little bit. Last year, we went out and paid a guy a lot of money to be a guy that we all had confidence in and he would have done well if he had gotten a shot. This year, there are not as many guys available because of the late stage, but there are a few veterans."

One other factor to consider is that teams will end up releasing veterans in the coming weeks, which could allow the Ravens to sign an experienced option prior to the start of the regular season.

At this point, however, Taylor is the guy getting the reps with the second-team offense, and he's looked fairly impressive at this early stage.

"Right now," Harbaugh said, "we want Tyrod to get the reps and see how he does."

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