Patriots Coach Carroll Heaps Praise On Ray Lucas

Ian Logue
November 11, 1999 at 12:26 pm ET

FOXBORO, MA — Former Patriot Ray Lucas will return to the starting quarterback spot when the Jets come to Foxboro on Monday night, and Patriots head coach Pete Carroll knows that Lucas will be ready to go. Lucas played brilliantly in his only start this season, and finished the day 16 of 30 for 137 yards passing in his game against Indianapolis. It comes as no surprise to Carroll that Lucas got the nod to start again.

“They made this change a few weeks ago going into the Indy game, and Ray got hurt on the last play of the game,” said Carroll. “He’s healthy again, so he’s returning to the starting spot. They had already committed to him in the past. We had a chance to see him play in that Indy game, and he had played a very good game. He was highly scrutinized for the one interception that he threw that I felt was a very difficult play.”

The interception came with just under five minutes to play when he was picked off in the endzone by cornerback Jeff Burris, and Burris returned it 55 yards. It set up Colts kicker Mike Vanderjagt’s 27-yard field goal with 14 seconds left, as Indianapolis stole a 16-13 victory. Lucas was sacked on the final play of the game, and had to be carted off the field.

Lucas was formerly a wide receiver for the New England Patriots, and was never really considered as a quarterback with Drew Bledsoe, Scott Zolak, and punter Tom Tupa who could also be used as a quarterback on the roster. He was signed by the Jets after Parcells left New England, and Carroll talked about why the Patriots didn’t decide to keep him.

“He was a wide receiver here and was competing with our wide receiving core,” said Carroll. “All I remember was at the time it wasn’t going to work out. Everybody liked Ray, he was a good guy.”

When asked if he had ever been asked by Lucas to play quarterback, Carroll responded, “We used to throw the ball around, and had that thought in mind if we needed him in an emergency situation. We were really focused with him being a receiver and on special teams.”

He will have his chance to see Lucas playing quarterback, and this time it will be on the opposite sideline. Lucas is coming off an ankle injury and is expected to be back at full speed. As far as his scrambling ability is concerned, Carroll feels that Lucas and Mirer were both very good scrambling players, and both are very mobile, so the preparation will be similar to the Patriots first meeting against the Jets back in September.

-Injury List is Short

Only Harold Shaw, Marty Moore, Vernon Crawford, and Ted Johnson remain on the injury list. Shaw (Quad), Moore (Knee), and Crawford (Knee) are all listed as questionable for this week’s game against the Jets.

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