For the second consecutive day, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (right hip) practiced. During many other times — excluding when Flacco returned from an ACL injury suffered in 2015 — this wouldn’t be groundbreaking news. For a team that drafted his eventual successor in Lamar Jackson, the decision to start or not start Flacco in his return could be a monumental one.
“[It’s] coming along well,” Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said after Friday’s practice. “We talked about anticipating some progress this week and he made quite a bit of progress. [He] was a limited participant yesterday — a limited participant today in practice and looked good. I thought he looked good yesterday — looked a lot better today.
“So, the biggest thing was that he didn’t have a setback from yesterday. Today he came out and he was good. That’s where we’re at.”
Flacco has had just two days to practice heading into Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Falcons. Without practicing for two weeks prior and missing Wednesday’s practice, it just wouldn’t make much sense for him to be trotted out onto Atlanta’s turf while recovering from a hip injury.
With that being said, Flacco could still start this week, despite being limited in practice for the past two days of practice.
“I’d say yes, he’s an option,” Harbaugh said of Flacco. “It’s still doctors involved at this point. I think the biggest thing — the best way to describe this because it’s not simple. It’s never as simple as one rule or one cliche — as we talked about before, but it’s a formula involved here. And I think the biggest thing with situations like this or the two biggest factors are time and circumstances.
“And those are things that you just don’t know. Time in terms of the medical aspect of it — circumstance in terms of our team and where we’re at and guys are playing, including the players involved. To me, it’s like any other position that way, it just gets more attention cause it’s the quarterback and we’ll see where we’re at as we go.”
Before coming into Week 11’s matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals, Flacco had started in 41 consecutive games — dating back to the beginning of the 2016 regular season. He battled with an ACL recovery during that same season and a back injury that plagued his play in 2017.
Juxtaposed with Flacco’s return has been the play of Jackson in two games. Jackson has seemed to garner the support of his teammates and has galvanized the fan base. On Thursday, Marty Mornhinweg was highly-complimentary of the rookie quarterback’s poise.
“I’ll tell you what, for a 21-year old young man, he’s done an outstanding job in every way and certainly in the huddle, Mornhinweg said. “It’s been impressive.”
With Jackson’s ability to extend plays and make reads to give his team a chance to keep drives alive with his rushing ability (65 rushes for 329 yards and two touchdowns) may ultimately give Jackson a chance to hang on to the starting position for the remainder of the season.
Running back Alex Collins (foot) missed his second practice of the week. After the emergence of the undrafted Gus Edwards — who has eclipsed the 100-yard mark in two straight games, with yardages of 115 and 118 respectively — Collins could see his role reduced.
Collins will have a tough time at finding his groove in the offense, if he returns. Baltimore acquired Ty Montgomery at the trade deadline and the 25-year old running back had a productive game against the Raiders — carrying the ball for 51 yards on eight carries. Montgomery also poses a larger threat as a receiver out of the backfield with 18 catches for 182 yards on the year, in comparison to Collins’ 15 catches for 105 yards.
Harbaugh also mentioned that Kenneth Dixon (knee) could be an option to return to the roster. Dixon suffered a knee injury during Week 1 against the Bills and added to the injured reserve. In recent weeks he was designated for return and it’s a possibility that he could replace Collins on the roster if he is sent to the injured reserve.
Cornerback Brandon Carr, safety Eric Weddle, linebacker Terrell Suggs and linebacker C.J. Mosley seemed to have received veteran rest days.
Safety Tony Jefferson (ankle) is out. Flacco (right hip) and offensive lineman James Hurst (back) are doubtful.
Collins (foot) actually was a full participant in practice today, but with Edwards (ankle), safety Anthony Levine (ankle), linebacker Tim Williams (illness) and cornerback Tavon Young (groin), he will be questionable.