OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Lamar Jackson would not know who’s beginning at quarterback for the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, however the rookie first-round decide is ready to make his first NFL begin if called upon.
“I really feel like I would be very ready,” he stated. “I am attempting to sponge every little thing in. … No matter occurs, will occur.”
Quarterback Joe Flacco, who’s coping with a proper hip harm, did not apply Wednesday or communicate to reporters as a result of he was present process remedy.
Coach John Harbaugh stated earlier within the week that Flacco would not have to apply so as to begin in Sunday’s sport between the Ravens (Four-5) and Cincinnati Bengals (5-Four). On Wednesday, Harbaugh declined to discuss his unsure quarterback scenario.
The Ravens are determined for a win, as is Joe Flacco, who could possibly be changed by first-round decide Lamar Jackson if the postseason is out of attain.
“I do not really feel like we owe anyone any solutions,” Harbaugh stated.
There’s pleasure constructing among the many Ravens fan base to see Jackson, the No. 32 general decide on this 12 months’s draft. He is the one one of many 5 first-round quarterbacks not to begin a sport this season.
Jackson, the 2016 Heisman Trophy winner at Louisville, is the one participant in FBS historical past to rush for at the very least 1,500 yards and cross for at the very least three,500 yards in consecutive seasons.
In 9 video games this season, Jackson has primarily run a Wildcat-style offense, finishing 7 of 12 passes for 87 yards and a landing whereas rating second on the crew with 139 yards dashing.
Teammates say Jackson has extra confidence within the offense at this level in his rookie season.
“He is simply being a ballplayer now,” receiver Willie Snead stated. “As soon as he has the scheme and every little thing round him below wraps, you may see the playmaker come out of him.”
Harbaugh hasn’t dominated out going with Robert Griffin III if Flacco is sidelined. Griffin, the No. 2 general decide within the 2012 draft, has been inactive because the third quarterback all season and hasn’t began a sport because the 2016 season finale.
Even if Jackson will get the beginning, Griffin may see time to restrict the strain on Jackson.
“If I get that chance to go on the market and play, I am going to make essentially the most of it,” Griffin stated. “Show these guys not solely how onerous I have been working however how a lot I imagine in them. it has been superior.”
The most important challenges for Jackson are accuracy and throwing from inside the pocket. In three years because the starter at Louisville, Jackson threw for 9,043 yards and 69 touchdowns however he by no means accomplished 60 % of his passes in any season.
Jackson appeared uncooked in throwing the ball in the course of the preseason, finishing 50 % of his passes. Jackson acknowledged that his passes wobbled, however he has a greater deal with on throws now.
“I used to be throwing a whole lot of geese,” Jackson stated. “I used to be getting accustomed to that ball, that is all. It is totally different from faculty to the NFL pigskin.”
Gamers have been impressed with Jackson’s athleticism since becoming a member of the Ravens. Center linebacker C.J. Mosley stated in June that it is like watching a younger Michael Vick when Jackson will get out of the pocket.
Cornerback Marlon Humphrey stated Wednesday that it is tough to defend Jackson when he is been operating the scout crew.
“Since he is been right here, he is been approach quicker than what I might’ve thought on TV,” Humphrey stated. “What folks do not see as a lot is he throws fairly nicely, particularly when he scrambles.”
Jackson’s greatest progress has are available calling the performs within the huddle. When Flacco was operating the offense in practices, Jackson would apply calling performs by repeating them to quarterbacks coach James City.
“Earlier than I had to ask coach 100 occasions, ‘Say it once more, say it once more,'” Jackson stated. “Now, he’ll say it one time to me. Generally, do not get me fallacious, if it is longer, I’ve to say, ‘Say it once more.’ However, apart from that, I am getting higher at that.”
Griffin, who has helped mentor Jackson on the sphere, joked that he by no means thought he could be a giant brother on the age of 28.
“The factor I’ve tried to preach to Lamar is he is been doing this his complete life,” Griffin stated. “It is a new stage. However the cream at all times rises to the highest. I believe he is performed a superb job of adjusting his stage of play as he is gotten increasingly more sport reps. That is what you need to see out of a younger man.”
This marks solely the eighth time that Flacco can be on the harm report in his 11-year profession. It was additionally the fourth missed apply in the course of the common season for Flacco (while you exclude the time he spent on injured reserve in 2015).
Flacco injured his hip within the Ravens’ final sport, a 23-16 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Nov. Four. He did not miss any performs that sport and stated afterward the hip did not have an effect on his play.
“That is one thing that I hope he followers of Baltimore actually respect — Joe is hard,” Harbaugh stated. “His ache tolerance is excessive. He at all times needs to play. That is confirmed over the past 10½ years.”