It was a strange feeling for tight end Dennis Pitta when he walked onto the Ravens' practice field Wednesday and didn't see quarterback Joe Flacco. Flacco was absent because of an illness.
This marks one of the only times that Flacco has ever missed a practice in his seven NFL seasons, including the time he was excused from a minicamp years ago when his wife was going into labor in New Jersey.
Flacco is fine and is expected to continue his streak of 111 consecutive games Sunday against the Cleveland Browns, according to a source. One reason Flacco wasn't around the team was to avoid him potentially getting other players sick.
"Every time I came off the field and wanted to talk to somebody, I didn't really have anyone there," said Pitta, who's one of Flacco's best friends. "It's always different when your starting quarterback, who you're used to being in the huddle with, isn't there."
Flacco rarely has been listed on the injury report, last appearing there at the end of last season when he sprained his left knee. On Wednesday, Flacco was listed with an illness.
"It was weird," defensive tackle Haloti Ngata said. "'Sizzle' [outside linebacker Terrell Suggs] and I were thinking that we've never been in a practice without Joe Flacco being out there."
Ravens coach John Harbaugh continued his stance of not commenting on anything about his players' health, saying he didn't know how Flacco was doing and hadn't spoken with him.
With Flacco not at practice, backup Tyrod Taylor operated the first-team offense.
"Tyrod did a tremendous job filling in," Pitta said. "We have a ton of confidence in him and what he's capable of."
Jernigan injured knee
Rookie defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan has a meniscus issue that could force him to miss a game or two, according to a source. The hope for now is that the second-round draft pick will avoid having to undergo surgery.
Jernigan was injured in the Ravens' 26-6 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. During training camp, the Ravens lost defensive linemen Brent Urban (torn ACL) and Kapron Lewis-Moore (torn Achilles) to season-ending injuries.
With Jernigan sidelined, the Ravens could need to insert new defensive tackle Christo Bilukidi into the rotation for the first time since he was claimed off waivers last week. The former Cincinnati Bengals and Oakland Raiders lineman was inactive against the Steelers.
"I've been studying my playbook, getting with the coaches one-on-one, making sure I have everything down," Bilukidi said. "I'm a pro. When my name is called, I've got to get out there on the field and do my job. It's going to be good. I'm pretty excited for this game."
Cornerback Asa Jackson returned to practice after being cleared under the mandatory NFL baseline concussion testing protocol that measures neurological functions. Jackson was forced out of last Thursday's game when he suffered his first concussion since high school.
"I'm just getting ready for Sunday," Jackson said. "So far, everything is going fine."
Left tackle Eugene Monroe didn't practice Wednesday because of a minor knee injury. Monroe emphasized that he expects to play Sunday. Left guard Kelechi Osemele (foot-ankle) practiced and isn't listed on the injury report.
Ravens cornerback Lardarius Webb was inducted into the Nicholls State Hall of Fame on Saturday. "It was awesome," he said. "It's a blessing to be in the Hall of Fame. I'm just very honored to be a part of that" ... Browns running back Ben Tate is slated to miss this game with a sprained knee. Tight end Jordan Cameron and outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo were both limited in practice with shoulder injuries