A major storyline this week will be the status of Lamar Jackson (ankle) and Tyler Huntley (Reserve/COVID-19) for Sunday's game against the Los Angeles Rams.
Jackson has not practiced or played since his injury Dec. 12 against the Browns, while Huntley was placed on the (Reserve/COVID-19) list Saturday.
A significant step for Jackson would be returning to the practice field Wednesday, and Head Coach John Harbaugh was asked about that possibility Monday.
"I'm looking forward to that," Harbaugh said. "We'll see as we get to Wednesday and see where we're at with that.
"Hopefully, we'll have Lamar back. Hopefully, we'll have Tyler back, and we'll still have Josh (Johnson). So, those guys will all be working this week to get ready for this game."
Without their top two quarterbacks, the Ravens got a strong emergency duty performance from Johnson during Sunday's 41-21 loss to the Bengals. The Ravens (8-6) have lost four straight, but they hope to get healthier this week and have proven they won't lose their resolve to make the playoffs.
"We have two more at home. So, we're in a perfect scenario to get in," inside linebacker Josh Bynes said. "[quote]All that matters is getting into the playoffs."
Ravens Hope Anthony Averett's Rib Injury Improves
Anthony Averett, who has carried the heaviest workload among Baltimore's cornerbacks this season, will try to recover this week from a rib injury that knocked him out of Sunday's game. Averett has started 13 games during a season that has seen Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey suffer season-ending injuries.
Harbaugh said Averett's status would be determined as the week progressed.
"It'll be just a matter of whether he can move around and play with it," Harbaugh said. "We'll probably see later in the week – see how he's feeling and how he's moving."
Baltimore's corners will face another difficult matchup this week. Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp is having a monster year, leading the NFL in receiving yards (1,734), receptions (130) and touchdown catches (14) by a wide margin. Kupp has a chance top Calvin Johnson's record of 1,964 receiving yards, which Johnson accomplished during a 16-game season in 2012.
Greg Roman, Quarterback*s* Coach James Urban Doing Yeoman's Work
Huntley and Johnson deserve credit for the way they've run the offense in a backup role, and both have spent plenty of time the past few weeks working with Quarterbacks Coach James Urban.
It's taken a collaborative effort from Urban, Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman and the entire offensive staff to get Huntley and Johnson ready on short notice, and the results have been impressive.
Despite having just 10 days to prepare, Johnson was 28-of-40 for 304 yards, two touchdowns and one interception against the Bengals.
"Coach Urban's done a great job. Coach Roman has done a great job, all the coaches have on offense," Harbaugh said. "I'm really happy with the way that those quarterbacks have played. But we can get better. We're going to be chasing. It's not really where we sit around and we say, 'Everything's great, everything's good.' It's not good enough.
"Josh did a great job. A guy comes in here, he's been here a little over a week. To play the way he played and to understand the offense – just to get us out of the huddle, get us lined up – was an accomplishment. To get the cadence call was an accomplishment. That's not easy; that's really challenging especially in an environment like that, a playoff environment. I think you have to tip your hat to him and all the guys that worked with him, starting with Coach Urban."
Young Receivers Step Up in Cincinnati
Second-year wide receiver James Proche II had a career day in Cincinnati (seven catches, 76 yards) picking up the slack for veteran Sammy Watkins, who played sparingly after coming off the (Reserve/COVID 19 list) on Saturday.
Meanwhile, rookie Rashod Bateman (four catches, 26 yards) caught his first touchdown pass and rookie Tylan Wallace showed his toughness, shaking off two Bengals tacklers for an 18-yard catch to convert on third-and-13.
"A lot of the young guys stepped up and played well in the game," Harbaugh said. "I'm certainly not happy at all with the results of the game, but certain guys got opportunities and they did a good job. … Hopefully, they can build off of that, and I expect them to."