Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson has been officially ruled out for today’s game against the Chicago Bears with a non-COVID illness.
Jackson battled a virus all week, missing practice on Wednesday and Thursday before returning as a full participant on Friday, allowing him to receive no designation on the Ravens’ initial injury report.
But the team announced yesterday that they were adding Jackson back to the injury report with a questionable designation after his illness flared up on Saturday. The Ravens also activated third-string quarterback Trace McSorley from the practice squad for today’s game, fueling speculation that Jackson would not play today. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported last night that Jackson was ’50-50′ to start today’s game, with the Ravens planning to evaluate their young quarterback once in Chicago.
Video of Jackson arriving at Chicago’s Soldier Field was posted on Twitter this morning, with a masked-up Jackson looking clearly fatigued.
Despite working hard to stay hydrated, Jackson will not play today, as first reported by USA Today’s Josina Anderson, who wrote that Jackson is “not doing well enough to play.” NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport confirmed the news shortly before the Ravens posted their full inactives list, which included Jackson and star wide receiver Marquise ‘Hollywood’ Brown, who is out due to a thigh injury.
Tyler Huntley to Make First Career Start
As a result, former Utah Ute Tyler ‘Snoop’ Huntley will make his first career NFL start today after taking first-team reps at practice for most of the week. He’s made two appearances for the Ravens this season, both in garbage time at the end of already-decided games.
Huntley arrived in Baltimore as an undrafted free agent in 2020, serving as the team’s fourth-string quarterback for most of his rookie season. But injuries to Robert Griffin III and Trace McSorley promoted Huntley to the backup job by the end of the season, with him closing out a playoff game against the Buffalo Bills after Jackson suffered a concussion.
While Huntley is nowhere near as dangerous as a runner or passer as Jackson, he’s still more than capable of running the Ravens offense. He beat out McSorley for the backup quarterback job in the preseason, earning the trust of the Ravens coaching staff in the process.
The Ravens posted a video of head coach John Harbaugh talking with Huntley ahead of today’s kickoff.
Ravens Thin at CB
The Ravens are also extremely thin at cornerback today, with starter Anthony Averett and veteran Jimmy Smith both sidelined with injuries. That leaves only Marlon Humphrey, Chris Westry and Tavon Young as Baltimore’s available cornerbacks.
Young himself suffered a foot injury last week against the Miami Dolphins, but he only missed one practice this week, so he’ll play in full today.
Rookie safeties Brandon Stephens and Ar’Darius Washington can both play cornerback, but Stephens is already starting at free safety in place of the injured DeShon Elliott.
Ravens defensive coordinator Don ‘Wink’ Martindale will have to deploy his secondary carefully to make sure his defense doesn’t continue to give up big plays.