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John Beck is hoping for a chance to compete for the No. 2 quarterback spot this offseason.
Then again, he could get the spot almost by default.
If the Ravens grant Troy Smith the trade he and his agents have publically called for, Beck could be in line for a promotion.
"I want the Ravens to give me an opportunity to compete for the backup job and I want to prepare the best I can for it," said Beck, who received a third-round tender as a restricted free agent. "I still have high goals for myself. I still want to be a guy that plays in this league."
Trading Smith, a restricted free agent with a fifth-round tender, doesn't seem a very high probability at this time.
The Ravens are happy with the security Smith provides in case Joe Flacco* *were to go down. And there hasn't been any buzz about teams being interested in Smith – just teams that could be interested such as the Oakland Raiders, Buffalo Bills or Carolina Panthers.
But either way, Beck is preparing as if he's going to be Flacco's backup. Like Smith, Beck has attended the Ravens' voluntary workouts thus far this offseason.
"The one thing I've learned though in my time in the NFL is that you can only control what you can control," Beck said.
"What I can control is how hard I work, the time I put in on the field and off the field, in the film room and on the things I'm trying to get better at."
Asked if Beck would have a chance to compete for the No. 2 quarterback spot, Ravens Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron said, "Absolutely."
"The way John does it, there's competition every day," Cameron said. "His approach is exactly what you're looking for. He's trying to get better every day and be ready when called upon."
Cameron is keenly aware of Beck's talent. After all, the Ravens' offensive coordinator drafted him in the second round of the 2007 NFL Draft while he was head coach in Miami.
Beck, who went four picks behind now Philadelphia Eagles starter Kevin Kolb, figured he would be taking over the reins in Miami in a few years. He saw action in five games as a rookie, including four starts, and completed 60 passes in 107 attempts for 559 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions (62.0 QB rating).
But the Dolphins went 1-15 in 2007, resulting in much turmoil. Cameron lost his job, as did a host of other Dolphins. Miami's new management, headed by Bill Parcells and new coach Tony Sparano, brought in free agent quarterback Chad Pennington and drafted Chad Henne in the second round.
Beck didn't see any action in 2008 and signed a one-year contract in Baltimore last May. He was listed as the Ravens' third quarterback for every game last season.
"It is tough to go from a guy who started four games in the NFL, who has been a No. 2 on a team, a No. 1 on a team for a while, to being No. 3," Beck said. "You want to be as close to the field as you can, if not the guy on the field. To be the backup that's as close as you can be to the field here because Joe's the franchise guy."
Speaking with Cameron, it's easy to see that he still has faith in Beck and believes he will be a starter in the NFL someday. He praised Beck for his maturity, toughness and work ethic, and added that he has a quick release and is an "extremely talented thrower."
"He can make every throw in this offense; he just needs to work to do it consistently," Cameron said.
"There's nobody that's going to convince John Beck that he's not going to be a starter in the National Football League someday. With the way he works, in the situations I've been around, guys have eventually become starters."