FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – Ravens coach John Harbaugh said that he has not ruled out playing quarterback Joe Flacco in Sunday’s game against the Falcons, despite a number of reports stating that rookie Lamar Jackson would get his third straight start behind center.
Flacco, the Ravens starting quarterback, injured his hip during a 23-16 loss to the Steelers on Nov. 4. He reportedly examined by a doctor on Monday in order to get clearance to practice this week. In Flacco’s absence, Jackson has started in back-to-back wins for the Ravens (6-5) over the Bengals and Raiders.
“We just need to see him practice, go through the whole practice, and evaluate how he’s moving, throwing and want to make sure he can protect himself and execute,” Harbaugh said of Flacco during a conference call with the media on Wednesday.
“Obviously it’s going to be played at a really high pace down there – very fast defense and excellent pass rushers. So, that would be our main concern to see that in practice – and if we get a chance to see that in practice. And if we get a chance to see that as the week goes on, we’ll have a better handle on that.”
Flacco did not practice on Wednesday.
If Flacco does manage to get through a practice this week and Harbaugh likes what he sees, it’s conceivable that that the 11-year veteran could get the starting nod against the Falcons (4-7) when the two teams square off at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday.
Or, as Harbaugh noted Wednesday, both two quarterbacks could end up playing or rotating during the game. The Ravens coach wouldn’t elaborate beyond that, however.
“That would be an option and I’ve been asked about that up here as well,” Harbaugh said. “I would say that’s one of the options on the table.”
The Ravens, who jumped out to a 3-1 start this season, are 4-5 in the nine games Flacco has started. He’s completed 232 of 370 passes (61.2 percent) for 2,465 yards and 12 touchdowns. Flacco has tossed six interceptions this season, too.
Jackson, a Heisman Trophy winner who the Ravens selected with the 32nd overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, has completed 34 of 56 passes for 415 yards and a pair of scores. He’s also thrown three interceptions in the games he’s started.
Jackson, however, is a dangerous runner. For the season, he’s averaging better than 5 yards a carry and has rushed 65 times for 329 yards and two touchdowns. Coupled with running back Gus Edwards, the Ravens have rushed for 507 total yards in their past two games vs. the Bengals and Raiders.
Falcons coach Dan Quinn said his team is preparing for both quarterbacks and noted the Ravens offense is very different depending on who’s under center.
“You do have to have two separate styles of play based on who’s in and that also goes for when they play them both in the game together,” Quinn said.