Ravens HC John Harbaugh: Plan Right Now Is For Lamar Jackson To Play Against Packers

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said the team will monitor Lamar Jackson’s sprained ankle this week, and he didn’t rule out the quarterback playing Dec. 19 when the Ravens host the Green Bay Packers at M&T Bank Stadium.

Jackson suffered the ankle injury on the first play of the second quarter during the Ravens’ 24-22 loss at Cleveland Dec. 12.

Speaking to the media the next day, Harbaugh said, “It’s not a high ankle sprain, which is good news. We’ll just have to see what it is from there and how he feels this week going forward.”

“The plans are right now, in my mind, for Lamar to be out there,” Harbaugh added. “So we’ll see where it goes this week. If he can go, he’ll go. If not, Tyler [Huntley] will be the quarterback.”

Huntley replaced the injured Jackson and rallied the Ravens from a 24-3 deficit, engineering two fourth-quarter touchdown drives. Huntley finished 27-for-38 for 270 yards and one touchdown, and he ran six times for 45 yards, though he also lost a pair of fumbles, one of which was returned for a touchdown.

The Ravens return to the practice field Dec. 14.

Jackson is ferociously competitive, and you can bet he will be trying to convince trainers and Harbaugh to let him get on the field. But they would do well to tread cautiously with him and point his recovery toward the huge AFC North showdown at Cincinnati in two weeks.

At 8-5, the Ravens continue to lead the AFC North, but the Bengals (7-6) are just a game behind and have already beaten the Ravens once, thumping them 41-17 at M&T Bank Stadium in October. If the Ravens have designs on the AFC North title, as close as this race is, they can ill afford to be swept by the Bengals in the season series.

Jackson remains the undisputed focal point of the Ravens’ offense this year, but he has been scuffling for the past month. In his past four games, beginning with a 22-10 loss to the blitz-happy Miami Dolphins, Jackson has thrown three touchdowns and six interceptions and has averaged 5.7 yards per attempt.

The Ravens went 1-3 in those games (Jackson missed the win against the Bears with an illness), as teams have followed the Dolphins lead and unleashed blitzes on the Jackson and the Ravens’ struggling offensive line.

Against the Browns, Jackson connected with Marquise Brown for 11 yards on the Ravens’ first offensive snap, but did not register another first down before leaving with an injury.

For the year, Jackson has completed 246 of 382 passes for 2,882 yards and 16 touchdowns. He has also thrown 13 interceptions and has been sacked 38 times, both career highs with four games to play. His passer rating of 87.0 ranks 22nd.

Jackson does remain on track to lead the Ravens in rushing for the third straight year, with 767 yards on 133 carries. He ranks second in the league with an average of 5.8 yards per carry, but it’s fair to wonder how a sprained ankle would affect the running ability of Jackson, who has never missed a game because of injury.


JEFFERSON RETURNS TO PRACTICE SQUAD: The Ravens have signed safety Tony Jefferson to the practice squad, reuniting with the veteran who was with the team from 2017-19. His final season with the Ravens was cut short by a torn ACL. Jefferson was signed to the San Francisco 49ers practice squad this season and appeared in two games before being released last week.

Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox

Bo Smolka

See all posts by Bo Smolka. Follow Bo Smolka on Twitter at @bsmolka