The Ravens hope quarterback Lamar Jackson can play at close to full strength Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams. But they’re already preparing for the possibility that an injured ankle will sideline him for the team’s biggest game of the year.
Offensive coordinator Greg Roman said Thursday that, with Jackson limited in his first practice Wednesday since a Week 14 injury, and with backup Tyler Huntley activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list Thursday, “you definitely want to spread the reps around” at practice.
Typically, the Ravens’ starting quarterback gets most of the repetitions in practice, if not all, Roman said. “But under the circumstances,” he added, “we may adjust that.” A day after coach John Harbaugh said he was “really hopeful” that Jackson, the team’s most important player, would start in an essentially must-win game, Roman acknowledged the uncertainty at the position.
“You obviously want to get your starter the reps” in practice, Roman said. “But when there’s a chance that multiple guys could play, you’ve got to start to consider: Should we give this guy some reps? Can this guy handle all those reps? Are we better off kind of putting him on a pitch count, spreading them out?
“So I think there’s definitely some options there, and as unique as these situations have been, they’ve been pretty straightforward up until this point because we knew who our starter was going to be.”
Huntley, who’s impressed in his five appearances this season, is expected to practice Thursday without limitations after missing Sunday’s blowout loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, the Ravens’ fourth straight defeat. As the Ravens monitor Jackson’s progress, it’s possible the team could wait to decide on his availability as late as Sunday morning.
“I think it really comes down to, is he ready to play?” Roman said. “I’m sure in his mind, he’s ready to play, but I think as coaches, it’s our responsibility to make sure that he’s in good enough health that he can go out there and play the way we need him to play … and be able to play and make sure he’s able to protect himself adequately.”