Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco has missed practice for the second straight week with a right hip injury that he suffered against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 9. He was ruled out on Friday and will miss his second consecutive game, though it was initially unknown.
“Yes, I think it does,” Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said. “It would be … I don’t know if we’re going to rule him out for this game right now. I’m counting on Lamar [Jackson] being the starter in this game. I think that’s pretty straightforward. And Joe, at this point now, he would’ve had to practice to be ready to go, and he was not able to practice this week.”
Flacco has missed only three practices during his NFL career (excluding his time on the injured reserve in 2015), according to ESPN’s Jamison Hensley.
Before the hip injury, Joe Flacco had only missed three regular-season practices in his 11-year career (excluding time on IR). Flacco has now missed the past two weeks of practice (six practices) due to the injured hip.— Jamison Hensley (@jamisonhensley) November 23, 2018
It is unknown if Flacco has suffered a setback with his injury. If he did, it could cause Baltimore to fully invest in a different direction with Lamar Jackson as the starting quarterback.
Jackson showed the ability to keep the Cincinnati Bengals on their toes by using the ability to rush for 119 yards on the ground and still pass for 150 yards and a completion percentage of 68.42%. The rookie quarterback showed accuracy on short to intermediate passes (7.89 yards per attempt) and kept plays alive with his legs.
Flacco would have a pretty large hill to climb to regain his starting spot if Jackson were to have another good start against the Oakland Raiders (2-8). If Baltimore were to win ugly against Oakland with poor play from Jackson, they could go with the veteran quarterback once he’s healthy in the final stretch of the season.
Through nine games played in 2018, Flacco has gone 4-5, going 234-for-379 (61.2% completion rate), passing for 2,465 yards with 12 touchdowns and six interceptions with a passer rating of 84.2 — which is his highest since 2014 (91.0). He began the season with a hot start with a passer rating of 90 or more five times through the first seven games. In his most recent two games played, Flacco has passer ratings of 56.8 and 77.1 respectively.
Baltimore currently has the sixth seed in the AFC Wild Card. Remaining on their schedule after the Raiders are the Atlanta Falcons (4-7), Kansas City Chiefs (9-2), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-7), the Los Angeles Chargers (7-3) and Cleveland Browns (3-6-1) to finish off the season. The favorable schedule could allow for Jackson to reel off a few wins and keep Flacco healthy for the playoffs, if they are still in the hunt.
One has to remember that Flacco has an 88.6 playoff passer rating — in comparison to his 84.1 career regular-season passer rating. Since 2010, Flacco has had a 101.0 passer rating with a 24:4 touchdown-interception ratio. However, Baltimore hasn’t been in the playoffs since 2014, so it remains to be seen what they’ll do if they do make it in.
In the event that Baltimore loses and are long-shots to make the playoffs, they will likely continue to go with Jackson.