Ravens coach John Harbaugh said quarterback Lamar Jackson is still working toward a return and could start in the team’s regular-season finale Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Ravens have a slim chance to make the playoffs if they beat the Steelers, so Harbaugh said they’ll do everything they can to keep that possibility alive. Jackson has not played since he hobbled off the field with an ankle injury in the second quarter of the team’s Week 14 loss to the Cleveland Browns. He limped through a single practice last Wednesday before sitting out Thursday and Friday and watching the Ravens’ loss to the Los Angeles Rams from the sideline.
“He’s been pushing to try and come back and play and practice,” Harbaugh said.
The Ravens have lost their last three games with Tyler Huntley and Josh Johnson as their starting quarterbacks. Huntley expressed disappointment Sunday with their inability to finish drives in the end zone, and Harbaugh reiterated that.
“Let’s be honest: we had opportunities to score touchdowns and we got field goals on offense,” he said. “We did move the ball, we made plays on offense, we did good things. But you’ve got to score touchdowns. … We score touchdowns, we win the game. It’s that simple.”
In other injury news, Harbaugh said outside linebacker Odafe Oweh could play against the Steelers after he missed the Rams game with a foot injury. The rookie ranks second on the team with five sacks and 15 quarterback hits.
Proche victim of roster crunch
James Proche was a healthy scratch against the Rams because the Ravens only had room for five wide receivers given their other roster concerns, Harbaugh said.
Proche was sidelined a week after his most productive game as a pro in which he caught seven passes on eight targets for 76 yards against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Devin Duvernay returned to the lineup against the Rams after missing the previous week with an ankle injury, and his presence created a crunch at the position. The Ravens chose rookie Tylan Wallace over Proche in part because of his role on their coverage teams.
Jimmy Smith steps up
Veteran cornerback Jimmy Smith played every defensive snap against the Rams after playing none in five of the previous six weeks. Harbaugh said he gave the Ravens a boost.
“I thought he played well,” he said. “He was physical. He was moving well, the best he’s moved all year since training camp. And we needed him to.”
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Smith stepped in for an injured Anthony Averett (chest/ribs) as a starter on the outside and made four tackles, including a key third-down stop in the backfield when the Ravens were trying to keep the Rams out of the end zone late in the fourth quarter.