Ravens

Quick Links

Steve Smith officially doubtful for Sunday

usatsi_8795081.jpg

Steve Smith officially doubtful for Sunday

The Ravens have officially listed injured wide receiver Steve Smith (back) as doubtful for Sunday, suggesting there is a small chance he could play even though both head coach John Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Marc Trestman earlier this week had said Smith would be out.

Smith has not practiced all week after sustaining microfractures in his back against the Steelers last Thursday night. Over the weekend, Harbaugh said that Smith would be out, though he backtracked on Monday. "I don’t think I’m able to do that, really, to be honest with you," he said. "It has to do with the injury report."

On Thursday, Trestman said, "We’re excited about the opportunity for the guys who are playing because Steve is out."

Smith is still most likely out, but the Ravens are giving the impression that the receiver who Harbaugh said belongs in the "hall of fame of pain tolerance" could still play Sunday against the Browns.

The Ravens have ruled out defensive end Chris Canty (calf), tight end Crockett Gillmore (calf) and wide receiver Breshad Perriman (knee). Canty will be missing his third straight game and Gillmore his second. The absence of Gillmore means the Ravens again will rely on two rookie tight ends -- Maxx Williams and Nick Boyle.

Tackle Eugene Monroe (concussion) practiced all week and is probable to return, bolstering an offensive line that should have all five starters from last year back for the first time since early in Week 1. Other Ravens listed as probable include linebacker Albert McClellan (abdomen), guard Marshal Yanda (ankle) and running back Lorenzo Taliaferro (foot).

RELATED Predicting Ravens-Browns: Can Ravens overcome injuries?

For Cleveland, starting free safety Tashaun Gipson is out with an ankle injury, and starting cornerback Joe Haden (ribs/finger), who missed last week's game, is questionable.

Backup linebacker Craig Robertson (ankle) is out and running back Shaun Draughn (ankle) is doubtful.

 In addition to Haden, the Browns list three other starters as questionable: wide receiver Brian Hartline (ribs/thigh), linebacker Karlos Dansby (ankle) and defensive end Desmond Bryant (shoulder). Others listed as questionable for the Browns include linebacker Scott Solomon (ankle) and running back Robert Turbin (ankle).

The Browns list six players as probable: DB Johnson Bademosi (elbow), running back Duke Johnson (ankle), backup quarterback Johnny Manziel (elbow), tackle Mitchell Schwartz (thumb), safety Donte Whitner (illness) and defensive back K'Waun Williams (concussion).

Quick Links

Joe Flacco disappointed about losing starting job, but decision wasn't a surprise

Joe Flacco disappointed about losing starting job, but decision wasn't a surprise

It's been a lingering question around the Under Armour Performance Center over the last five weeks as rookie Lamar Jackson has filled in for an injured Joe Flacco.

At some point this season we knew that Flacco would be healthy enough to get back to football.

We also knew at some point this season the Ravens would have to make the tough decision on who their starting quarterback would be in the aftermath of Jackson leading the team to three straight wins.

That question was finally answered Wednesday when head coach John Harbaugh announced Jackson would be starting Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Flacco would be the backup for the first time in his 11 NFL seasons.

"Obviously disappointed that I can't be apart of this team in the same capacity that I have been for a long time," Flacco said Wednesday on learning the news.

"It's out of my hands. I got hurt. They drafted Lamar in the first round. At some point something was going to happen between the two of us. Who knows what that was going to be. This is just what it is at this point. I've obviously had five weeks to think about it and prepare myself for this situation and the possibility of it. I'm disappointed that, like I said, I can't be in that locker room in the same capacity that I've always been. But this is my situation right now and I'm going to do my best to handle it the right way."

The news, however, shouldn't come as a surprise to many.

In his first four games as the starter, Jackson is 52 of 89 for 600 passing yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions in addition to 67 rushing attempts for 336 yards and two touchdowns. His 30 rushing first downs ranks second among NFL QBs behind Carolina Panthers' Cam Newton (33), and his 475 rushing yards in 2018 ranks second behind Buffalo Bills' Josh Allen (490).

Prior to suffering the hip injury in their Week 9 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Flacco was 232 of 379 for 2,465 yards, 12 touchdowns and six interceptions. The Ravens had lost their last two games under him and it looked like another playoff-less season could be on the horizon for the fourth year in a row.  

When the weeks continued to pass without Flacco and the Ravens record continued to improve with Jackson, the writing to many was already on the wall. 

"It's part of the game," Flacco said on losing the starting job after his injury. "I've talked about it plenty of times. Every time you take the field, there's obviously the risk of something like that happening and it just is what it is."

"I can't say I was surprised. The bigger thing is just even though I'm disappointed, like I said about I guess my different role and all that, is just trying to stay excited about what my role is and the possibilities that they bring."

The leader of this team for 11 years, Flacco had missed just six games and started in his last 41 appearances before Week 10. While Flacco is admittedly not a sentimental guy and many have criticized him for his lack of emotion over the years, standing on the sideline the last four weeks has not been easy.

"It was really tough for me," Flacco said. "It wasn't even about the possibilities of something like this happening, you know, as a starting quarterback — which I've been for a long time for this team— you play through things throughout a course of a 10-year career. I definitely wanted to get out there and be there for my guys that next week, and it's definitely one of the hardest things I've done in my career is standing on the sidelines, being inactive and not being apart of it the way you want to." 

There was no denying the resurgence the Ravens experienced under Jackson. His 336 rushing yards in his first four starts is the most by a quarterback in the Super Bowl Era and his running back-like speed continues to be tough for defenses to stop.

What Jackson offers in speed Flacco can compliment in the passing game. Ever since the first-round pick rushed for 119 yards in his first start against the Cincinnati Bengals, the narrative has been that Jackson will never be able to sustain that in the NFL. Now with two quarterbacks to use at their discretion, the Ravens' last three games could get very interesting even though Harbaugh would not divulge how much the team would utilize the Super Bowl MVP in Sunday's game. 

"Anything can happen in this league very quickly and were right in the middle of a really good playoff run and we have a lot of important games ahead of us," Flacco said. "I'd firstly be doing my team a big disservice by not preparing the same way I always do, and after that I would be doing myself a big disservice, too, because you never know what's going to happen and when you're going to have to be called on."

MORE RAVENS NEWS:

Quick Links

Ravens' Joe Flacco loses starting QB job to Lamar Jackson

Ravens' Joe Flacco loses starting QB job to Lamar Jackson

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Joe Flacco has lost his job as Baltimore Ravens starting quarterback and will be the backup Sunday for the first time in his 11-year NFL career.

Flacco is finally healthy after missing the past four games with a right hip injury. The Ravens went 3-1 during his absence under rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson, and coach John Harbaugh has decided to stick with the first-round draft pick with Baltimore striving to end a three-year playoff drought.

Harbaugh said Wednesday: "Every decision is based on making us the strongest possible team we can be."

Jackson will start Sunday when the Ravens (7-6) host Tampa Bay (5-8).

The 33-year-old Flacco has been a starter since his rookie season in 2008 and was Super Bowl MVP when the Ravens beat San Francisco to end the 2012 season.

Flacco says: "I'm obviously disappointed I can't be part of this team in the same capacity that I have been for a long time."

MORE RAVENS NEWS: