Joe Flacco Could Return Next Week, But Ravens Aren't Naming Starter


Quarterback Joe Flacco could return to the field next week, but Head Coach John Harbaugh declined to announce the Ravens' starter moving forward.

Flacco will be evaluated by a hip specialist early this week to determine whether he's cleared to resume practice.

Flacco suffered the injury on Nov. 4 and it was a three-to-four-week timetable. So if Flacco played next Sunday in Atlanta, that would be on the conservative end at four weeks.

"It's too premature [to know if he'll return] because he has to be cleared to practice," Harbaugh said. "He has not been cleared to practice yet."

Now the big question in Baltimore is who the Ravens' starting quarterback will be once Flacco is healthy enough to play. Do the Ravens go back to their veteran former Super Bowl MVP or keep moving forward with their dynamic rookie, Lamar Jackson?

"I'm not going to get into that for a number of reasons," Harbaugh said. "Whether that decision has been made or not is not important for anyone to know but us. If I decided to do it one way or the other, I don't want our opponents to know."

Jackson took a step forward Sunday in a 34-17 win over the Raiders, leading a balanced offense that rolled up 416 yards. He threw for 178 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions and ran for 71 yards and another score.

The Ravens are 2-0 with Jackson under center. Granted, those victories have come against the Cincinnati Bengals and Oakland Raiders, who entered the week allowing the second- and third-most points in the league. They, statistically, have the two worst run defenses in the NFL.

But a win's a win, and there's no doubt that Jackson has put a charge of excitement into Baltimore's offense.

"It's the Lamar show," wide receiver Michael Crabtree said. You just have to sit back and watch, because he's electrifying. … Just his attitude. He's got a winning spirit. Everything he does, he does well. I'm just a witness and a receiver at his disposal."

Multiple Ravens players were asked who they wanted as starting quarterback moving forward and all of them declined to answer.

"I ain't getting into all of that, alright?" veteran guard Marshal Yanda said. "We just got done beating the Raiders, so I'm deflecting that one."

But how much momentum and excitement has he given the offense?

"Yeah, it's been great," Yanda said. "Obviously, we came out and ran the ball effectively. The threat of Lamar keeping the ball with running, that puts a lot of stress on the defense. That's tough for them to defend. I'm happy to see that we're doing that and keeping them honest."

Flacco has not spoken with reporters since suffering his hip injury. Jackson gave a succinct answer when asked if he expects Flacco to be the starter if he returns.

"That's up to coach," Jackson said.

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