Last offseason, the Ravens began bracing for the departure of backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor. With 2014 the last year of his contract, the expectation was that a year on the bench would convince Taylor to move on to a better opportunity to play, or that any extended playing time this season would price him out of the Ravens’ backup quarterback market.
So the Ravens selected former Ball State quarterback Keith Wenning in the sixth round of the NFL draft last May, and Wenning spent a year on the practice squad learning alongside Joe Flacco and Taylor in anticipation of a larger role.
“Being with Tyrod and Joe and [offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak] and Rico [quarterbacks coach Rick Dennison], they took me under their wings and definitely, as a young player, showed me what it takes to game plan each week, what it takes to prepare for a game each week,” Wenning said Monday.
“I feel like, having just gotten done talking to them, I’ve come a long way understanding game plans and attacking teams’ defenses and that kind of stuff, what it takes each week,” he said. “That wasn’t easy initially, and with that, learning an offense throughout the year as well. I feel like I’ve come a long way and I’m looking, like a lot of guys, at getting better for next spring.”
Wenning was one of nine players the Ravens signed to reserve-future contracts Monday, keeping them on the offseason roster. Bryn Rynner, an Arena Football League quarterback, also signed a reserve-future contract with the Ravens. A day before Wenning’s contract was announced, he met with Kubiak and Dennison to discuss his development this year and his future.
His specific role was not discussed, but Wenning believes they “all know what the case is, or what could happen.” Because of that, he’s focusing more on the things the coaches said he needed to improve on than those he improved on.
Wenning, a four-year starter at Ball State who set school records with 11,402 yards and 92 touchdown passes, saw his most extensive preseason action against the New Orleans Saints, when he was 8 of 13 for 117 yards.