Ravens Planning to Take Lamar Jackson Decision ‘Down to the Wire’

Ravens Lamar Jackson

Getty Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson suffers an injury against the Cleveland Browns on December 12.

The Baltimore Ravens are playing it close to the chest with regards to the availability of injured star quarterback Lamar Jackson for their Week 15 matchup with the Green Bay Packers.

Jackson suffered a low ankle sprain against the Cleveland Browns on December 12, sidelining him for the remainder of the game.

Offensive coordinator Greg Roman said on December 16 that the Ravens’ decision on whether or not to start Jackson “could go down to the wire,” and head coach John Harbaugh didn’t offer much clarity during a press conference the next day. 

“I’d say he has a chance,” said Harbaugh on December 17 when asked about Jackson’s availability, adding that the fourth-year quarterback has been present during team meetings preparing for the Packers.

“We’ll check him out pregame,” continued Harbaugh, adding that Tyler Huntley “will be ready to go” if Jackson can’t play.

“He had a really nice week of practice,” said Harbaugh of his backup quarterback, who could be in line for his second career start on December 19.

Harbaugh has remained coy about Jackson’s status all week, telling reporters on December 13 and December 15 that Jackson could start against the Packers, though all other signs point to the star quarterback’s absence.

Jackson did not practice all week, per Jonas Shaffer of The Baltimore Sun, with Huntley taking first-team reps at quarterback.

The Ravens also signed veteran quarterback Josh Johnson to their active roster, indicating that they’re preparing for Jackson not to start vs. Green Bay.

Ravens Confident in Backup QB

But it’s safe to say that Ravens backup quarterback Tyler Huntley has earned the team’s confidence after two relief appearances for Jackson this season. He mounted a fourth-quarter game-winning drive against the Chicago Bears in Week 11, and nearly did the same against the Browns in Week 14. 

“We feel really confident about Tyler,” said Roman, “Whether he starts the game, or enters the game at some point, we feel really good about him, the direction he’s going and the development he’s shown.”

But the Ravens also appeared to know soon after signing the undrafted Huntley in 2020 that they had a high-quality backup on their hands.

“He made a really good first impression,” continued Roman, who added that he took note of Huntley’s attitude “really early on.”

Harbaugh told media on December 15 that Huntley’s throwing ability was an early indicator of his potential.

“Obviously, he’s a really good athlete, hard worker and talented guy, but you could see that he could spin it,” said Harbaugh, “That’s kind of where it starts for a quarterback.”

Huntley Happy to Be in Baltimore

While the Ravens appear to have found the perfect backup quarterback in Huntley, he’s equally happy to be in Baltimore.

“Everything happens for a reason,” said Huntley, who went undrafted in the 2020 NFL draft but signed with the Ravens almost immediately after the draft ended.

Huntley told reporters on December 17 that he was in contact with Ravens quarterbacks coach James Urban throughout the draft, making it easy for Huntley to decide to come to Baltimore.

After spending most of his rookie season on the practice squad, Huntley won the backup quarterback job in the 2021 preseason. As it turns out, that position battle would turn out to be one of the most important decisions made by the Ravens this year, as Jackson has missed two games already and could miss another on December 19.

If he can’t play, Huntley is certainly ready to make his second career NFL start.

“I just love football,” said Huntley, “My goal is to put us in the best position to win.”

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