LANDOVER — Trace McSorley will be nervous. The Ravens rookie quarterback acknowledged that much late Thursday night, just minutes after a 20-7 win over the Washington Redskins. About 41 hours separated him then from the deadline for 53-man-roster cuts, a long, uncomfortable wait. There was unease in the unknown.
“There’ll definitely be nerves along with it, just a lot of kind of that waiting period where you don’t necessarily know what’s going to happen,” he said. “So there’ll be definitely be nerves involved.”
In his second straight start, McSorley again made his case for a roster — to the Ravens, yes, but also any other NFL team that might need a second- or third-string quarterback on a cheap rookie contract. In just over a half of work, the sixth-round pick finished 15-for-27 for 171 passing yards and a touchdown. Over four games, he was 51-for-90 (56%) for 534 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions, his name all over the Ravens’ preseason record book.
But he also hadn’t yet seen much time on special teams, the dimension he was expected to add. Was that enough to make the roster?
“I don’t think it’s a matter of whether Trace has earned a place on the team,” coach John Harbaugh said afterward. “He would have a role for us. It’s just a matter of strategy right now. I think that’s something that [general manager] Eric [DeCosta] and [executive vice president] Ozzie [Newsome] will talk a lot about in the next few hours.”
The Ravens have long been reluctant to keep three quarterbacks on their 53-man roster. But last year, with Lamar Jackson’s arrival as a first-round draft pick and subsequent summer struggles, along with Robert Griffin III’s strong preseason, the team kept both, plus starter Joe Flacco. During the season, the Ravens activated three quarterbacks just once on game day.
McSorley said afterward that Baltimore is “where I want to be.” With the Ravens offense’s reliance on mobile quarterbacks and college-style concepts, he said he feels as if he fits in the team’s scheme. But he has shown enough as a drop-back passer to make a roster cut risky for the Ravens. If they’d prefer to stash McSorley on their practice squad this season, 31 other teams will have to pass on adding him to their 53-man roster.
Asked after Thursday’s game whether his playing time in the finale surprised him, McSorley said it hadn’t. He joked that he would’ve played the whole game had the staff let him, and pointed to the offense’s chemistry, which he said had improved with each outing. But the Ravens had seen enough.
“I’m starting to feel good around them, but kind of see what happens,” he said. “Obviously, hoping for the best, and I think this is the best situation for me to be in.”