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John Harbaugh: With Joe Flacco returning, there's a 'plan' in place for Ravens QBs

Ravens coach John Harbaugh has a plan for handling the team’s quarterbacks. He’s just not saying where Joe Flacco will fit in after a full week of practice.

The team’s longtime starting quarterback, sidelined by a right hip injury for the past month, was medically cleared to play in the Ravens’ game Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs. But Harbaugh said Flacco, who practiced fully just once last week, “just didn’t have a chance to prepare enough” to play.

Harbaugh said at his weekly news conference Monday that “if Joe’s ready to go, he’ll be part of the game plan. He’s too good a player not to be.” Could that mean taking the starting job back from rookie Lamar Jackson, who dropped to 3-1 as a starter after the overtime loss in Arrowhead Stadium? The Ravens (7-6) host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-8) on Sunday in another game rife with playoff chase implications.

“I'll just have to let you know if we want,” Harbaugh said. “It could entail anything right now. I know what we want to do. I have a plan. We have a plan. We talked about it. We have to talk to the guys about it, and whether we share that publicly, we'll decide as the week goes on."

Harbaugh said Jackson, who was knocked out of the game’s final two plays with an ankle injury, “should be fine.” Jackson did not appear to be in any discomfort at his postgame news conference or in the locker room afterward.

While the Ravens' streak of three straight games with 200-plus rushing yards ended Sunday, Jackson's passer rating has improved the past three weeks. He was 13-for-24 for 147 yards and no interceptions, and finished with two passing touchdowns for the first time in his young career.

Flacco, who has not spoken to reporters since Nov. 4, ranks No. 28 in the NFL in passer rating among qualified quarterbacks.

“It’s a football decision,” Harbaugh said. “Everybody understands what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to put the best football team out there we can from one play to the next. That’s all. That’s always what it’s about, and all those guys sitting in the chairs you’re sitting in now understand that. We don’t make it about anything other than football. We keep it simple.

“It’s about football, because that’s what we’re here for. Guys come from every part of the world, every background, every race, religion, creed, whatever else you want to say — town, country, East Coast, West Coast. And they come together and sit in a room for what purpose? For football. That’s what we’re here for. So we keep it about that and let’s roll.”

jshaffer@baltsun.com

twitter.com/jonas_shaffer

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