'I haven't been OK not playing, but I think if I was OK then I wouldn't be the competitor that I've grown to be," said Robert Griffin III when asked about his approach to his role this season. (Kevin Richardson / Baltimore Sun video)
Rookie Lamar Jackson missed practice Thursday because of an illness, adding greater uncertainty to the Ravens’ quarterback situation three days from a crucial game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Starting quarterback Joe Flacco (right hip) missed practice for the second straight day, as expected. That left quarterback Robert Griffin III, who has not played since the preseason, to take every repetition with the Ravens’ first-team offense Thursday.
Jackson did not appear to be ailing during the media availability period in the team’s locker room, and a Ravens public relations official tweeted a picture of Jackson and tight end Hayden Hurst taking in the winter’s first snow earlier.
Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said Thursday that veterans like Flacco can play well despite not practicing during the week, but that with “some guys, it doesn’t work very well.”
"I've had quarterbacks, tight ends, linemen, all different positions play without practicing,” he said. “Most of the guys do it really, really well, because it's all about preparation. So yeah, I think Joe would do very, very well without practice. Because he's got experience, he's a smart guy, he knows how to prepare, all of those things. ... I don't see any reason why he wouldn't play really well without any practice."
Jackson’s absence is an unwanted impediment for a 21-year-old possibly entering his first career start Sunday. He said Wednesday that he felt “very prepared” but acknowledged that he didn’t know yet how he could develop chemistry with the team’s starting receivers.
It would be a similar challenge for Griffin. He last played in Week 17 of the 2016 season, when he went 29-for-40 for 232 yards passing, two touchdowns and an interception in a Cleveland Browns loss. He signed with the Ravens in April and was considered to be on their roster bubble before making the team’s season-opening 53-man roster.