The competition to be Lamar Jackson’s backup may be over before it really starts for the Baltimore Ravens. Tyler Huntley “strengthened his grip” in the battle to be second on Baltimore’s quarterback depth chart after outplaying journeyman Josh Johnson during a 20-19 win over the Philadelphia Eagles in preseason on Saturday, August 12.
Huntley delivered “an effective cameo appearance,” according to ESPN’s Jamison Hensley. The latter noted how “Huntley produced more passing yards in two drives (88) than Josh Johnson had for the entire first half (45). The Ravens looked more fluid with Huntley’s mobility.”
Huntley’s dual-threat skills aren’t the only edge he has over 37-year-old veteran Josh Johnson. The Pro Bowler also has a ringing endorsement from teammate, wide receiver Tylan Wallace.
Tyler Huntley Makes His Case
Huntley separated himself from Johnson in two ways during the game against the Eagles. First, Huntley showed more aptitude for pushing the ball vertically by averaging an impressive eight yards per attempt compared with Johnson’s average of 3.8 yards.
Sharing the targets around and stretching the field are going to be two key elements to the Ravens expanding their offense after Todd Monken replaced Greg Roman as coordinator. It’s why Monken was given dynamic wide receivers like Odell Beckham Jr. and Nelson Agholor in free agency, along with Zay Flowers, the 22nd pick in the 2023 NFL draft.
The new weapons and more daring scheme are geared to helping Jackson reach the next level, but the Ravens know the value of a good backup. Jackson has been injured late in each of the last two seasons with ankle and knee problems, missing 11 games including the playoffs.
Huntley’s performances in relief last season earned him a Pro Bowl nod, albeit as an injury replacement. His own health was a concern when Huntley left the fray against the Eagles with an apparent injury, but NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported it was only a “minor hamstring tweak.”
The diagnosis will be welcome news for both Huntley and those, including Wallace, who believe No. 2 brings something “different” to the Ravens’ offense.
Tylan Wallace Identifies Huntley’s Key Quality
Wallace believes Baltimore’s “offense is different” whenever Tyler Huntley takes snaps. The wideout says Huntley “goes in and he attacks,” per Hensley.
That’s quite a vote of confidence for Huntley, who should keep the inside track to be the next man up in the event Jackson spends more time on the shelf once the real action begins. Huntley makes more sense as the Ravens’ primary backup, despite Johnson having 10 seasons and time spent with a whopping six teams, including the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and San Francisco 49ers, to his credit.
Unfortunately, Johnson lost his only start in a Ravens uniform, against the Cincinnati Bengals back in 2021. For his career, Johnson is a mediocre 14 and 25 as a starter, according to StatMuse, compared to Huntley’s 7-8 mark.
Johnson has experience on his side, but Huntley offers a more Jackson-like presence whenever he takes the field. His rushing skills, along with more efficient and bolder distribution of his passes, positions Huntley as the more suitable backup to the face of the franchise.