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Lamar Jackson, Patrick Queen Don't Fear Getting Rusty During Bye

Baltimore Ravens linebacker Patrick Queen, right, tackles San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle during the second half of an NFL football game Monday, Dec. 25, 2023, in Santa Clara, Calif.
Baltimore Ravens linebacker Patrick Queen, right, tackles San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle during the second half of an NFL football game Monday, Dec. 25, 2023, in Santa Clara, Calif.

Patrick Queen isn't concerned about the bye week having a negative impact on the Ravens.

Queen wasn't with the Ravens in 2019, but he's heard about their 28-12 playoff loss to Tennessee following a first-round bye week. The inside linebacker believes that having an extra week to prepare for the playoffs will help the Ravens and doesn't fear they will get rusty or lose their late-season momentum.

"The way we practice, they're ain't going to be no rust," Queen said. "I know the stories about '19 and what happened. I think we've got the guys in this locker room that care and really want to prepare and go on this run. The rust thing, I think that's totally just a mindset.

"If you truly want something, you going to go get it. You won't let nothing stop you."

Lamar Jackson, who will be inactive Saturday against the Steelers, agrees with Queen's take. He's been harping on the Ravens to stay focused every day since OTAs, and he'll be taking the same approach.

"Just keep my body moving around, staying locked in like we have all season," Jackson said. "It's a bye week, that's all. I'm ready, I'm locked in, I'm prepared.

"2019 is over with. We're always talking about it, I find myself talking about it. That was my first full season in the NFL. It's a lot different mindset, different group of guys. We just couldn't get it done that January. I strongly feel like this year, it will be different."

Ravens Have Mapped Out Next Week's Schedule

Head Coach John Harbaugh said the Ravens' practice and meeting schedule leading up to their first playoff game has already been planned. Next week during their bye, they will have a normal practice schedule.

"The only question is what day we're going to play (to open the playoffs)," Harbaugh said. "I'll be honest with you, I was a little surprised that we played on Saturday with this one (Steelers). It's fine. You just adapt. It's mapped out, and then we'll see what day we play."

Harbaugh said he didn't think the Ravens had to make drastic changes to the way they prepared for their playoff game in 2019 after having a bye.

"We put up 500 yards in that game, we just didn't score touchdowns," Harbaugh said. "By the end of the game, our defense got a little worn out against a really good running team. It's a narrative, we didn't win the game, we didn't score enough points, but it's not like we weren't moving the ball. We just didn't execute in the red zone very well. We had really good practices, we went back and kind of looked through that. Guys had good spirits. I think we had a good game plan. We just didn't get the job done on certain plays. You just look at where you are with this team at this time and make the decisions that are best."

Malik Cunningham Will Be Available to Play Quarterback and Wide Receiver

Malik Cunningham will make his Ravens debut against the Steelers after being signed in December. The former Louisville quarterback worked out with the wide receivers during Wednesday's practice and will be available to take snaps at either position.

"He'll be up for the game and he'll be active, the third quarterback in our rotation," Harbaugh said. "He'll also be able to play some other positions for us, special teams, whatever we decide he can do. He'll be playing wide receiver, which he's been practicing here and there. He'll be a factor."

Harbaugh Will Attend National Championship Game to Support Brother Jim

Harbaugh and his wife, Ingrid, will travel to Houston to watch his brother, Michigan Head Coach Jim Harbaugh, as he leads the Wolverines in the national championship game against Washington next Monday.

It was nerve wracking for the Harbaughs to watch Monday night as Michigan rallied to defeat Alabama in overtime, but they were thrilled with the outcome. One of the best moments for Harbaugh was watching his parents, Jack and Jackie Harbaugh, being interviewed after the game. Harbaugh's parents said they switched seats during Michigan's game-tying drive in regulation to bring the Wolverines good luck.

"Just couldn't have been more pleased," Harbaugh said. "I was really happy for my mom and dad. That interview they had when they talked about switching seats? That is so classic of them. My mom, you put a microphone in front of her face and you hang out with her for a couple of minutes, you don't even have to ask her what she thinks, she's going to tell you. It was fun to watch."

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