Joe Flacco was scheduled to visit a doctor Monday to have his injured right hip reexamined, according to Head Coach John Harbaugh. Flacco has not practiced or played since suffering his injury Nov. 4, and he must be cleared by a doctor before he returns to practice or game action.
"I think he's seeing the doctor today," Harbaugh said during his Monday press conference. "We'll have some guidance on that."
Harbaugh is in no rush to announce his starting quarterback for Sunday's game against the Atlanta Falcons. He might not at all this week. Lamar Jackson has started the last two games, but once Flacco is cleared to play,[add] the Ravens will have a decision to make.
The results of Flacco's examination will determine if he is ready to return this week. It's not a pain tolerance issue, Harbaugh said.
"My understanding with that injury, the biggest criteria is the protection of the hip, the hip's ability to protect itself," Harbaugh said. "So it's got to be strong and stable. There's no big tear in there. But the hip's got to be strong and not agitated for Joe to be able to protect himself. And that's the concern, is Joe's safety. That's why it's opinion, that's why the doctor has to decide. It's not like a hamstring or something – well it's this degree healed or not. A dislocated hip? We don't want that."
If Flacco is cleared, Harbaugh said the decision to start Jackson or Flacco will be based on which quarterback gives the Ravens the best chance to win. If Flacco is cleared to play, Harbaugh did not rule out any scenario for using either or both quarterbacks. Before Flacco's injury, Harbaugh raised the possibility of Jackson playing an entire series and sharing quarterback duties.
"We'll just do whatever we think gives us the best chance and try to use all of our players the best way we can, so everything is on the table in that sense," Harbaugh said. "That's pretty much the answer."
If Flacco is cleared, Harbaugh said the decision to start Jackson or Flacco will be based on which quarterback gives the Ravens the best chance to win. The quarterback position receives more attention than any other, but Harbaugh is not letting the scrutiny factor into his decision.
"I always ask a lot of opinions, but at the end, it's a decision," Harbaugh said. "There's opinions, and there's decisions. You make a decision based on what you feel is best. I don't think there's anybody in any better position to make a decision than the head coach. I feel very, very confident that I have a good handle on it, understand the team and what we need to do.
"I don't think you start making these decisions until you get to the bridge. Don't cross the bridge until we get to it? I think that's a pretty good cliché. I'll be ready to make that decision when the time comes. Yes, with all the input from different people that are involved, that have a stake in it. It doesn't change because it's the quarterback."
Tony Jefferson Is a Quick Healer, But Chuck Clark Can Play
Ravens safety Tony Jefferson left Sunday's win with an ankle injury during Sunday's second quarter, but Harbaugh praised Chuck Clark for the way he filled in for Jefferson. Whether Jefferson plays Sunday or not will depend on how much he improves this week.
Clark played 27 snaps Sunday, his most extensive action of the season. The second-year player from Virginia Tech was a sixth-round pick in 2017. He stood out on special teams as a rookie and has flashed on defense.
"Chuck played well," Harbaugh said. "He made a number of tackles and was in great position. If Tony can't go – and Tony's a notoriously quick healer, he healed quickly last week – then I think Chuck is a very solid player for us and will play well."
With Alex Collins Out, Ty Montgomery Becomes Bigger Part of Offense
Ty Montgomery had some bright moments offensively Sunday, with 51 yards on eight carries and three catches for 13 yards. It was only Montgomery's second game with the Ravens since being acquired at the trade deadline from the Green Bay Packers. Harbaugh was pleased with how comfortable Montgomery looked in the offense.
"To get involved to that degree is really a good job by our coaches," Harbaugh said.
Veteran running back Alex Collins (foot) did not dress Sunday for the first time this season. Collins practiced last Friday after missing practice Wednesday and Thursday, and Harbaugh said his foot injury will be something he likely has to manage the rest of the season.
"Eventually those things heal," Harbaugh said. "It's not like a bone break or anything like that."
Montgomery was pleased to be part of the offensive mix.
"I am just so grateful to be here, and I am thankful to the Ravens for giving me the opportunity," Montgomery said. "I've got great guys around me and coaches around me, and I am grateful for the role they've given me, being able to be productive and help this team."
Hayden Hurst's Three-Catch Performance Could Be Sign of Things to Come
Rookie tight end Hayden Hurst made three catches Sunday for 25 yards, including two catches that were good for a first down.
Harbaugh felt Hurst did a good job of making himself available to Jackson on a second-half completion that was part of a Ravens' touchdown drive. On third-and-5, Jackson rolled to his right and threw back across the field to Hurst on a scripted deception play.
The Ravens hope their first-round draft pick will be a bigger part of the offense down the stretch. For the season, Hurst has seven catches for 82 yards and a touchdown after missing the first four games with a foot injury.
"He's been doing well in practice," Harbaugh said of Hurst. "He's hasn't played a ton of football. The more practice he gets, the more reps he gets, I think he really kind of clicks in on stuff. The throwback was covered. Between Lamar making a great throw on the move and Hayden making a great catch and having the awareness, the depth to get the first down was really a big play for us."