FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – The Falcons (4-7) don't know who they'll see under center for the Ravens (6-5) come Sunday.
It could be Lamar Jackson or veteran Joe Flacco, although one report suggest that it will be Jackson. The rookie out of Louisville has started the past two games after Flacco suffered a hip injury on Nov. 4 and his status is uncertain.
More often than not, when a backup quarterback is starting the scheme is remains the same. This means the opposing coaching staff can prepare based off what they've seen from the offense, no matter who is in at quarterback.
That's not the case this time around.
Flacco and Jackson are two completely different quarterbacks and the offense is different depending on who is starting.
"When you don't know which one you're going to face, and you'll hear me say the offense is not too different, you can take that out this week," Falcons coach Dan Quinn said. "It's definitely different in terms of the way that they can utilize quarterback runs. We have some experience obviously going against that in the division with a mobile quarterback who has design runs for the quarterback. Sometimes when you're going against an option team, it's okay if I have a clear read I'll just keep it and go. Then there's other quarterbacks that can be used as a design quarterback run where he's keeping it on this play. There's some of that with Lamar."
This means Atlanta's defensive coaching staff will now have to game plan for both quarterbacks.
With Jackson under center, the Ravens are 2-0. The rookie quarterback has completed 27 of 44 passes and thrown one touchdown and three interceptions. His ability to run is what makes him such a unique threat and he's recorded 190 yards on the ground on 37 carries and one touchdown.
In the nine games he's started this season, Flacco has thrown for 2,465 yards and 12 touchdowns and six interceptions.
"You have to have calls that you feel good with both for whoever is playing," Quinn said. "That obviously makes up for the strong majority of your game plan but you also have to have some calls that are specific to somebody that is as athletic as Lamar so that's what makes it a little challenging and different. You probably have to add in some plays during the week knowing you could see multiple quarterbacks. If it was just one quarterback you need to prepare for, you would just go that way. But when there's two, that's how we'll go about it."
Quinn has challenged his defense to be better against the run and if Jackson is the starter for the Ravens on Sunday, the Falcons will not only have to be ready for his ability to run but also running back Gus Edwards who has rushed for more than 100 yards in back-to-back games.