New Ravens outside linebacker Justin Houston could join the team Friday, defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale said after training camp practice Wednesday.
It was unclear whether Martindale meant Houston would arrive at the team’s Owings Mills facility or be cleared to practice Friday. Houston, who agreed to terms on a one-year deal Saturday and finalized the contract Monday, is unvaccinated, according to coach John Harbaugh. Under NFL protocols, he must test negative for the coronavirus for five straight days and can’t enter the facility until Day 5, at the earliest.
The Ravens are off Thursday and Sunday but are scheduled to practice Friday and Saturday.
“We can’t wait to get him here and get him rolling,” Martindale said. “I think that it’s going to help us in a whole bunch of different ways. It makes us more flexible.”
Martindale joked that he’s not worried about how the four-time Pro Bowl pass rusher will fit in. “What is it, 97 ½ sacks?” he said, referring to Houston’s career total. “I think we can fit those in.”
Lamar Jackson playing catch-up
Offensive coordinator Greg Roman considers himself an optimist. And with quarterback Lamar Jackson set to return later this week from a second coronavirus infection, the Ravens will have about a week to prepare Jackson for his preseason opener and over a month to get him up to speed for the season opener.
“I think we’ve got enough time,” Roman said. “So the big thing is, get him healthy and get him right and make sure he’s in a good place.”
Still, there are concessions the Ravens and their quarterback will have to make. Jackson and running back Gus Edwards (COVID-19) have missed seven practices, and each has featured periods of offensive installations. Jackson has the team’s playbook and a line of communication open with Roman, but only Trace McSorley and Tyler Huntley have seen how the plays unfold in person. Roman said Jackson will have to catch up — and that the Ravens will have to accommodate his late arrival.
“Everybody’s working hard to get things set in place, and when he gets here, we’ll do a little bit of both,” Roman said. “I mean, the train’s already left the station. So he’s in his cabin car right now, but once he gets out of there, the train’s down the road. So it’s going to be a little bit of a game of, we’re staying on schedule, but these are certain things we need to hit, especially with these two players, for example. We need to make sure we get these two guys on the same page, and then, ‘Oh, we’ve got to get this guy on the same page with him on this.’ So we’ll get that done.”