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News and Notes 8/23: Joe Flacco Staying Involved Behind the Scenes, Return Plan in Place

Posted Aug 23, 2017

The Ravens quarterback hasn't practiced this summer because of a back injury, but Offensive Coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said he still participates in team meetings. Mornhinweg thinks the offense will be fine with a 'reasonable' amount of time to prepare with Flacco.

Head Coach John Harbaugh surprised the team Monday by canceling practice and taking everyone to the Pentagon and Arlington National Cemetery.

Nearly the entire team made the trip, but players dealing with injuries had to stay back to undergo treatment at the Under Armour Performance Center. Quarterback Joe Flacco was one of the players who stayed in Baltimore as he recovers from a back injury, and he was busy behind the scenes.

Flacco met with Offensive Coordinator Marty Mornhinweg for more than an hour, diving into tape to discuss X’s and O’s.

“It was just excellent schematically,” Mornhinweg said.

Flacco has kept a low profile while recovering from the back issue this summer. He hasn’t been on the sidelines during practice or preseason games, but he’s still heavily involved in the meeting room.

“I mean, he’s on it now,” Mornhinweg said. “He’s in all of our team meetings, offensive meetings, as well as the group and quarterback meetings – all of the meetings with very few exceptions. He is on it.”

The Ravens announced that Flacco is on track to play in the regular-season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sept. 10, but Head Coach John Harbaugh said Flacco won’t practice this week. The Ravens have maintained that Flacco will practice in the preseason, so it’s likely that he’ll be on the practice field next week.

If he returns at the start of next week, that will give him two weeks to quickly get up to speed with his receiving corps before facing the Bengals.

“As long as he’s back with a reasonable amount of time to prepare, I think we’ll be just fine there,” Mornhinweg said.

Below are some of the other notes from Wednesday’s practice:

- Retired linebacker Zachary Orr watched practice from the sidelines. A congenital neck/spine condition forced Orr to retire early this offseason. He tried to get medical clearance from other teams to play, but announced last week that his brief bid at a comeback ended after 17 teams refused to clear him. Orr was a popular player in the locker room, and he was greeted warmly by his former teammates when he walked out to practice.

- The Ravens defense ranks No. 1 in just about every category through the first two games of the preseason. But Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees isn’t getting too excited about it. When asked about the ranking, Pees joked that “it’s better than being last.”

- Rookie outside linebacker Tim Williams was drafted to make life miserable on opposing quarterbacks, and the Ravens have liked what they’ve seen from him in that regard. “What he has to offer is exactly what we drafted – a guy coming off the edge, he has a good pass rush,” Pees said.

- Cornerback Jimmy Smith praised veteran defensive backs Anthony Levine and Lardarius Webb. Levine and Webb are both versatile players who have played virtually every spot in the secondary, and Smith said they’re the “Swiss-Army knives” for the defense.

- Defensive tackle Brandon Williams has fully embraced his role as a team leader after signing a big contract this offseason. The Ravens expect him to be one of the best interior defensive linemen in the league, and the coaches believe he’s ready to do just that. “He has to have a great year for us,” Pees said. “He knows it, we know it. If you are going to be a dominant defense, then you have to be play really good inside.”

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