Lamar Jackson’s ankle injury is not expected to be an issue moving forward, according to Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh.
Jackson was injured while being sacked by linebackers Justin Houston and Dee Ford near the end of Sunday’s 27-24 overtime loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Robert Griffin III played the final two snaps at quarterback as Jackson was treated for the injury. However, Jackson said he was fine after the game and Harbaugh concurred Monday.
“Should be fine, it looks like it’s OK, that’s what (Head Certified Athletic Trainer) Ron Medlin told me this morning,” Harbaugh said. “I’m sure they’ll look at Lamar again this morning as he comes in, but he hadn’t been in yet, which is a good sign. I think it’s going to be OK.”
The Ravens (7-6) lost for the first time in four games with Jackson as their starter, but he completed 13 of 24 passes for 147 yards and two touchdowns, while also rushing for 71 yards on 13 carries. Jackson leads Baltimore in rushing yards this season with 475, slightly ahead of Gus Edwards (446).
Harbaugh has not announced whether Jackson or Joe Flacco will be the starting quarterback against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Flacco is expected to be a full participant in practice this week after missing four games.
“I know what we want to do, we have a plan, we talked about it,” Harbaugh said. “We have to talk to the guys about it. Whether we share that publicly, we’ll decide as the week goes on.”
Patrick Ricard ‘Distraught’ About Unacceptable Tweets, Status Yet to be Determined
Harbaugh said no determination has been made on the status of fullback/defensive lineman Patrick Ricard. Racist and homophobic tweets by Ricard when he was in high school surfaced on social media over the weekend.
Ricard was a healthy scratch for Sunday’s game and Harbaugh said Ricard would not have played even if the tweets had not been exposed. Harbaugh was asked if Ricard’s status on the roster was in question.
“That will be based on what our team thinks,” Harbaugh said. “It’s unacceptable, I don’t care when it happens. He knows that. He said that. He told me that yesterday on the plane coming back, first time I had a chance to talk to him about it. He’s distraught. Still that’s got to be dealt with. I think our players will be the ones to kind of guide the ship on that just a little bit. I’ll definitely be seeking their input and we’ll see where it goes from there. It will be dealt with internally.
“I don’t know anything right now. We haven’t come to any decisions. I think it’s an internal matter. It has to do with relationships on our team amongst those guys. That’s between a group of men. We’ll let a group of men work it out.”
Anthony Averett Stepping Up as Part of Cornerback Rotation
With Marlon Humphrey and Tavon Young both playing through groin issues, Anthony Averett saw 39 out of 86 defensive snaps at cornerback against the Chiefs, and Harbaugh liked what he saw.
A fourth-round pick from Alabama, Averett has only played in three games this season, but looks fully recovered from a hamstring injury that hampered him earlier this season.
“Anthony played really well, not surprisingly,” Harbaugh said. “He’s answered every bell so far, every round he’s been called out there, he’s done a good job. He only gets better. It just makes our corner situation even better than it was before. Really pleased with how he played and it helped Marlon too, as far as the long-term health for him.”
Harbaugh suspects Humphrey’s groin could be something he must deal with for several weeks. He was not on the field during overtime of Sunday’s loss.
“It takes awhile for it to go away,” Harbaugh said. “Sometimes you can re-tweak it. It’s probably something he’s going to be feeling for a while.”
James Hurst Returns to Lineup as Starting Left Guard
After missing six games with a back injury, James Hurst started at left guard against the Chiefs and could remain there with Alex Lewis (shoulder) missing Sunday’s game. It was Hurst’s first start at guard this season after manning the first six games at right tackle.
Orlando Brown Jr. has started the last seven games at right tackle and looks entrenched in that role. Harbaugh expects Hurst to play even better as he works off the rust from his absence.
“He hasn’t played for so long, and he’s only been lifting weights for about a week-and-a-half,” Harbaugh said. “I thought he did well, very well for the circumstances. I know he can play better, he’s only going to get better. He’ll get up to speed quickly because he’s back at it now.”
Cyrus Jones Making Key Plays as Punt Returner
Overshadowed in Sunday’s game was Cyrus Jones’ 55-yard punt return that set up Baltimore’s go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter. Jones ran the ball to Kansas City’s 14-yard line with just over five minutes left in regulation. Three plays later, Jackson connected with John Brown for a 9-yard touchdown on a crossing pattern, giving the Ravens a 24-17 lead.
Had the Ravens won in regulation, Jones would have been one of the game’s heroes. However, the Baltimore native has solidified the return position since being re-signed from the New England Patriots in October. Two weeks ago against the Oakland Raiders, Jones scored his first NFL touchdown on a 70-yard return, showing his potential to make big plays.
“I think he’s done a really good job,” Harbaugh said. “I think there are some things he had to learn, I’m sure he would tell you that, in terms of the way we read the returns. It did take him a few weeks to get accustomed to it, to get a feel for it. But he has now, and he’s doing a great job as far as setting up his blocks, taking advantage of what the coverage gives him.”