Backup Quarterback Competition Should be Interesting

QBs Robert Griffin III, Trace McSorley and Tyler Huntley

For the past two seasons, the Ravens have carried three quarterbacks on the 53-man roster. General Manager Eric DeCosta said it was too early to say if that would happen again in 2020.

"I don't think we can answer that question right now," DeCosta said on a conference call with Ravens PSL Owners last week.

From 2010-17, the Ravens went eight straight seasons with just two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster. However, for the past two seasons, they have kept three – Lamar Jackson, Robert Griffin III and Trace McSorley last season and Joe Flacco, Jackson and Griffin in 2018.

In 2020, the quarterback situation behind Jackson will be highly competitive. Griffin is entering his third season as a valued backup, McSorley continues to develop as a second-year quarterback, and the Ravens signed undrafted quarterback Tyler Huntley of Utah.

Huntley completed 73.1 percent of his passes last season for 3,092 yards with 19 touchdown and just four interceptions. He also ran for five touchdowns while averaging 7.4 yards per carry, presenting a dual threat as an accurate thrower who also had mobility.

It was impressive enough to earn Huntley first-team Pac 12 all-conference honors last season over Justin Herbert of Oregon, who was the sixth pick in the NFL draft by the Los Angeles Chargers.

Though he remains a long shot to make the roster, Huntley views his opportunity with the Ravens as an experience that will only help him.

"Trying to better myself, to put myself in position to be a great NFL quarterback," Huntley said on “The Lounge” podcast. "I'm going to start by just learning from the veterans like RG3 and Trace McSorley. Maybe it leads to me going to another team or anything like that. Just setting myself up to be able to make any team that I'm trying to play for. Just really trying to get my feet wet right now and get to work."

McSorley earned a roster spot last season with a strong preseason at quarterback after being drafted in the sixth round. He got an extended look after Griffin suffered a training camp hand injury.

However, once Griffin was healthy for the regular season, McSorley was only active in Week 17, and it remains to be seen if he can earn snaps on special teams or become a versatile jack-of-many-trades offensive weapon like Taysom Hill of the New Orleans Saints.

McSorley completed 56.7 percent of his passes during four preseason games, throwing for two touchdowns with two interceptions. If McSorley throws the ball even better in his second season, other teams may be tempted to sign him if he is placed on the Ravens practice squad.

At age 30, Griffin is the most experienced quarterback on the roster, but he is playing behind a 23-year-old Jackson who is the NFL's reigning MVP. As a former Heisman Trophy winner, No. 2-overall pick and NFL Rookie of the Year (2012), Griffin is grateful for the job he has earned in Baltimore after being out of the league in 2017. But he still desires to be a starting quarterback after making just one start in two seasons with the Ravens.

"I know that Lamar is the guy in Baltimore," Griffin said last month on the Zach Gelb Show on CBS Sports Radio. "But that doesn't distinguish my fire to want to go out and be a starter – and not just be a starter but be a franchise player, be a guy that leads a team to multiple Super Bowls. I'm not in this to play another four or five years as a backup."

"I want to get back to the top of the mountain and go win – and win a lot. That's the focus, and that's hand-in-hand with what the Baltimore Ravens want to do at this moment. That's where I'm at, so I'm going to maximize that."

Carrying three quarterbacks will become more difficult if the Ravens carry four running backs. They drafted talented Ohio State running back J.K. Dobbins in the second round to join Mark Ingram II, Gus Edwards and Justice Hill in their deep running back rotation.

DeCosta said he could envision a four-headed monster at running back. But would that leave room for a three-deep roster at quarterback? The competition that shapes up behind Jackson should be interesting.

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