Baltimore Ravens

Ravens notes: John Harbaugh hopes team can keep Robert Griffin III; offensive line injuries are 'minor'

For all his faults, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco is the picture of availability. Only once in his 10-year career has he not started all 16 games in a season. Accordingly, the team hasn’t opened the season with three quarterbacks on its 53-man roster since 2009.

But with rookie Lamar Jackson’s struggles through three preseason games, and a dual-threat style that lends itself to injury, coach John Harbaugh acknowledged Thursday that third-stringer Robert Griffin IIII’s production will make the roster decision difficult.


“It'll be dependent on a lot of factors,” he said. “I'll say this: There's no question that the best quarterback thing to do would be to keep Robert Griffin. I mean, he's proven. He's played exceptionally well, and it makes our team better, no matter who the [No.] 2 is, who the [No.] 3 is, who's active, who's not active in a game. You want to keep your good players, and he's a very good player.”

Griffin started the Ravens' Hall of Fame Game against the Chicago Bears but has been the third quarterback in for the past two games. In his three appearances, he's a combined 18-for-26 for 177 yards, two touchdowns and one interception — the pick coming after a well-placed pass bounced off wide receiver Breshad Perriman's hands.


Jackson, the No. 32 overall pick in April’s draft, said after Monday's game against the Indianapolis Colts that he hasn't performed “at a high level yet.” The stats bear that out: Jackson is 18-for-43 for 201 yards, two passing touchdowns, one rushing touchdown and an interception overall.

Harbaugh praised Jackson's perseverance after an 0-for-4 start Monday, but he said Thursday that Griffin has played at a “starting-caliber level.”

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“He's an experienced guy,” he said. “So I'd rather have him than not have him, for sure. But there's other factors that go into that, and we'll have to figure all that out. And [general manager] Ozzie [Newsome] ultimately will have to make that decision.”

‘Minor’ injuries for Stanley, Hurst

Ravens offensive linemen Ronnie Stanley and James Hurst missed practice for the second straight day Thursday, but Harbaugh downplayed the severity of their injuries.

Stanley has a “minor” knee strain that is “very, very short term,” Harbaugh said. The left tackle was hurt during an extra-point attempt Monday. He walked off the field on his own power and did not appear to be in much pain while walking around the locker room afterward.

Hurst’s injury, a “little tweak,” is also “minor,” Harbaugh said. “Nothing to be concerned about past this week.”

With Saturday’s game against the Miami Dolphins likely the last for Flacco this preseason, Harbaugh said he wasn’t concerned about limiting the quarterback’s repetitions behind a banged-up line.

“I'm confident the guys we'll put out, they can protect Joe,” he said. “I'm confident that we can run schemes that can protect him. They've got two really good pass-rushing ends [Robert Quinn and Cameron Wake], obviously, and we've got to make sure that we keep those guys under control, no matter who's the quarterback. So we'll do what we need to do to that. And then we'll just play Joe as much as we think he needs to get ready for the regular season.”


Extra points

The Ravens welcomed back running back Kenneth Dixon and rookie tight end Mark Andrews to Thursday's practice. But the session continued without cornerback Maurice Canady, safety Bennett Jackson and rookie inside linebacker Alvin Jones for at least the second consecutive day.