Ravens HC John Harbaugh: QB Trace McSorley Will Be Sidelined ‘A Few Weeks’

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said backup quarterback Trace McSorley is dealing with a back injury that will sideline him for “a few weeks,” putting Tyler Huntley in line to be the Ravens’ primary backup quarterback when the season begins Sept. 13.

McSorley and Huntley have been in a spirited competition for the backup job to Lamar Jackson, with both of them enjoying extensive work with the first unit during the first 10 days of training camp while Jackson was sidelined after testing positive for COVID.

McSorley, a sixth-round draft pick out of Penn State two years ago, has been considered slightly ahead in the competition. McSorley played the entire first half of the Ravens’ preseason-opening 17-14 win against the New Orleans Saints Aug. 14, but he struggled behind a makeshift line. In the first quarter, the Ravens totaled 3 yards of offense and failed to record a first down.

McSorley led the Ravens on a 13-play, 52-yard drive in the second quarter that ended with a field goal, and he finished 11-for-18 for 86 yards with one interception.

Huntley took over in the second half and went 12-for-16 for 79 yards. He scored the game-winning touchdown on a 7-yard run in the fourth quarter and led the Ravens with 43 rushing yards on seven carries. He did have one major error, though, losing a fumble in the Saints’ red zone as he got hit trying to scramble.

After the game, Harbaugh revealed that McSorley had been dealing with back spasms in the day leading up to the game, which affected his mobility.

Two days later, after the Ravens training camp practice Aug. 16, Harbaugh said McSorley had “wrenched” his back while picking up a box at home the day of the Saints game and will be out “for a few weeks.”

That puts Huntley in position to be Jackson’s primary backup when the season begins, which might have been the case anyway.

Huntley, who spent most of last season on the Ravens’ practice squad as an undrafted rookie out of Utah, has shown a bigger arm and more ability to improvise with his legs than McSorley, who has more command of the offense with an additional year in the Ravens’ system.

Huntley appeared in two regular-season games last year after being promoted from the practice squad, going 3-for-5 as a passer and rushing 10 times for 23 yards. He then replaced an injured Jackson in the Ravens’ postseason loss to the Buffalo Bills, completing six of 13 passes for 60 yards.

Harbaugh praised the play of both quarterbacks against the Saints, acknowledging that McSorley was often “under duress” behind an offensive line that was missing two or three starters.

Harbaugh said Huntley “played excellent. He made plays with his arm, with his feet, and with his head. I thought he did an excellent job. He took a big step in that direction to be the backup quarterback.”


QB KENJI BAHAR RETURNS: With McSorley sidelined, the Ravens have re-signed quarterback Kenji Bahar, a Calvert Hall product who had been with the team at the start of training camp while Jackson was on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Bahar played collegiately at Monmouth.

G BEN CLEVELAND DEALING WITH CONCUSSION: Rookie guard Ben Cleveland, who has missed the past few practices and did not play against the Saints, is dealing with a concussion, Harbaugh said. He hopes that Cleveland can return to the field for the Ravens’ joint practices with the Carolina Panthers, which take place at Wofford College in Spartanburg, S.C., Aug. 18-19.

G KEVIN ZEITLER RETURNS TO PRACTICE: Guard Kevin Zeitler, who has been sidelined with a foot injury, returned to practice for the first time since Aug. 3. Harbaugh said he and left tackle Ronnie Stanley (ankle) “both are doing very well,” and expect to work to some extent against the Panthers this week. “We’ll ease them in a little bit,” he said.

Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox

Bo Smolka

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