One of the fiercest training camp battles for the Baltimore Ravens heading into the first week of the preseason was — and still is — at backup quarterback. The two players competing for the second and likely final spot on the depth chart behind Lamar Jackson are second-year pro Tyler Huntley and third-year pro Trace McSorley.
While both players showed flashed their playmaking ability and turned over the ball once, it was Huntley who led the Ravens to a 17-14 come from behind victory in the second half against the New Orleans Saints.
“Tyler came in and just played tremendous football, made plays running, throwing, just did a great job,” Harbaugh said. “Won us the game.”
Huntley went 12-of-16 for 79 yards and led the team in rushing with 43 yards on seven carries. His seven-yard touchdown run gave the Ravens their first lead since the end of the opening quarter and ultimately proved to be the game-winner. He was able to not only keep the team’s preseason winning streak alive but also made significant strides towards winning the No. 2 quarterback job.
“He came in and played excellent,” Harbaugh said. “He made plays with his arm, feet, and head. He took a big step in that direction to be the backup QB.”
Huntley appeared to have already pulled ahead in the competition with his performance on Saturday before Harbaugh announced on Monday that McSorley would miss the remainder of the preseason after sustaining a back injury.
“It’s an issue,” Harbaugh said. “He wrenched it in some way, so he’s going to be out for a few weeks with that situation.”
With his chief competition out indefinitely, Huntley is well-positioned to not just pull further ahead in the competition but secure the primary backup spot with his play over the final two games of the preseason.
“[I’m] just taking the reps one play at a time, just trying to [get us] better opportunities of scoring,” Huntley said. “Playing the game of football, the more reps you get, the more you feel comfortable. I feel like all the training camp reps [and] this little half, it’s just building on our camaraderie.”
When Huntley was on the field, he said that he wasn’t thinking about competing against McSorley but rather just focusing on playing football and letting everything else take care of itself. His teammates have taken notice of the strides he’s made from year one to year two and are excited to see him doing well.
“The boy is balling,” wide receiver James Proche II said. “A lot of the passes [that] I’m on the catching end of, you look back, ‘Who threw that? No. 2 Tyler Huntley.’ So, I’m just proud of him. We put in a lot of work when we could, this offseason. We got back a little early, put in some work. We were here [for] minicamp. I’m always with Tyler. That’s my guy. It’s good to see him shine.”
McSorley had a solid outing as well on Saturday, leading three scoring drives in the first half while going 11-of-18 for a team-leading 86 yards passing. He added another 25 yards with his legs on four carries.
“[If] you go back and watch it, Trace played well,” Harbaugh said. “Especially given the circumstances, he was under duress a few times. He got hit a few times.”
Even though both players possess dual-threat skill sets as runners and throwers, Huntley just looks like the more stylistic fit of the two and more closely resembles Jackson when he takes off and runs especially.
“He’s electric; he can run it, throw it, do things that Lamar [Jackson] can do as well. So, he’s definitely electric and provided that boost,” said wide receiver Devin Duvernay.
Harbaugh and the Ravens won’t prematurely proclaim Huntley the victor anytime soon but if he can continue to play as he did for the majority of the second half against New Orleans, he’ll remain in the driver’s seat and win the race.