For the first time in eight years, the Ravens will have to turn to their backup quarterback.
Joe Flacco's season came to an end Sunday when he suffered a serious knee injury, and the Ravens will now hand over the quarterback duties to veteran Matt Schaub.
"I'm absolutely ready," Schaub said. "If you're in this business and you're in this role and you're not ready and you get called upon, then you're doing something wrong. I understand that, and I've been ready. I just have to go in there and do my job."
Schaub, 34, came to Baltimore as an insurance policy in the event the Ravens suffered the exact outcome on Sunday against the St. Louis Rams. Schaub had been a starter for much of his 12-year career, but after a couple rough years in Houston and Oakland, he took the opportunity to come Baltimore and back up one of the NFL's most durable quarterbacks.
Flacco hadn't even missed a snap this season – he even played through the torn ACL for three plays – but now Schaub will get all the first-team reps.
"It was shocking," Schaub said about hearing of Flacco's diagnosis. "I hate the circumstances that they're falling under; I hate that for Joe.
"It's the nature of this game, yes, but at the same time, you hate to see that [happen] to a player that's done it for such a long time in this business. I'm excited for this opportunity, that's what I'm here for and that's what I came here to do. You're always one play away, and we're at that point."
Schaub hasn't started a game since 2013 when he was with the Houston Texans. He backed up Derek Carr in Oakland last year, but had seven years as the Texans' starter prior to that.
He had success in Houston, throwing for more than 4,000 yards in three seasons. He made the Pro Bowl in 2012 and 2009. He also has a strong understanding of the offensive system Baltimore runs, which is virtually the same scheme that he ran in Houston when Gary Kubiak was the head coach.
While Schaub has yet to play a game for the Ravens, his start in Baltimore was somewhat bumpy. He had issues with interceptions during training camp, and in the preseason, he went 32-of-50 passing for 354 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.
The Ravens have defended Schaub since the summer, and Head Coach John Harbaugh stuck up for him again Sunday night.
"Matt Schaub can play quarterback, and he's going to come in, and he's going to play very well," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "Everybody out there can talk about how he can't – those who want to consider themselves amateur evaluators – they can say what they want. It's OK, we'll rally behind Matt."
Schaub's teammates also expressed confidence that he can step in for Flacco.
"I'm very comfortable with Matt," tight end Crockett Gillmore said.
"Matt Schaub is a veteran in this league," defensive tackle Brandon Williams said. "He's got a cannon for his arm and still has a lot of life left, and he's going to execute the best he can. We support him 100 percent."
Schaub now has a week to further develop his rapport with the rest of the offense. The Ravens' next game is a primetime matchup with the Cleveland Browns on Monday Night Football, and Schaub knows the Ravens are counting on him.
"It's kind of a new life, new revival for me," Schaub said. "I'm looking forward to the opportunity to go to battle with these guys. I'm just excited to go to work this week."