OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) — Carrying a three-game losing streak and a losing record, the Baltimore Ravens now face the burden of uncertainty at the quarterback position.
Joe Flacco is nursing a hip injury that could keep him out of Sunday’s game against Cincinnati, an AFC North matchup that carries huge ramifications for the sagging Ravens.
With Baltimore coming off a bye, Flacco received an additional week of rest and treatment after sustaining the injury on Nov. 4 in the opening minutes of a 23-16 loss to Pittsburgh.
Flacco went the distance, completed 23 of 37 passes for 206 yards. His status this week, however, is unclear.
“He’s getting treatment, just like all the guys are getting treatment, and we’ll see,” coach John Harbaugh said Monday. “I’d say that we’ll know more as the week goes on and I’m hopeful all our guys play, including Joe.”
If Flacco can’t play, rookie Lamar Jackson will likely get his first NFL start, although veteran Robert Griffin III is also an option. Griffin gets the nod in NFL experience, but he’s been inactive in every game this season while Jackson has been used periodically because of his ability to run.
“It’s up in the air. We’re not worried about it,” Harbaugh insisted. “We’re blessed with a good quarterback room. It’s a good thing, that’s a positive thing. We’ve got three guys who can play. It’s just like any other position in my mind. You go with the next guy and you roll.”
The Ravens (4-5) reached their bye week with losses to New Orleans, Carolina and Pittsburgh. The skid ruined a decent start and left the team in recovery mode as it seeks to snap a run of three straight seasons without reaching the playoffs.
This is the 11th season that Harbaugh and Flacco have been together in Baltimore, and the coach would love to see his quarterback rally the Ravens into the postseason.
“Any direction we decide to go or we’re forced to go, it will be based on the health of Joe. If Joe can play, he’ll play,” Harbaugh said. “He’s rehabbing to play. Joe does not have to practice to play. He’s practiced the whole season, he’s practiced for 11 years. But he might practice. We just have to see how it goes.”
The 33-year-old Flacco has played through many an injury throughout his career. He did so against the Steelers. His teammates feel that if he can walk, he will play.
“Joe is one of the toughest guys I’ve played with, maybe the toughest guy,” guard Marshal Yanda said. “You never see him limping around, you never see him on the field showing any sign of weakness. He’s just been a rock for us. I have nothing but respect for the guy.”
Tackles Ronnie Stanley (ankle) and James Hurst (back) did not play against the Steelers, but both are expected to return Sunday when the Ravens begin a stretch — with or without Flacco — that will define their season.
“We’re in the hunt,” Harbaugh said. “We’ll write the story of the Ravens’ 2018 season by how we play in the next seven weeks. That’s what our guys are juiced up for. Get the Cincinnati Bengals in as fast as we can, and let’s go play the game.”
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