News & Notes: Return of COVID List Players Will Be 'Medical Decisions'

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Left: QB Lamar Jackson; Center: RB Mark Ingram; Right: RB J.K. Dobbins

Head Coach John Harbaugh would not give specific timetables Thursday when asked about some of the 17 players who remained on the Reserve/COVID-19 list.

The Ravens will gladly welcome back as many players as possible leading up to Tuesday night's game against the Dallas Cowboys. However, Harbaugh said the medical staff would make determinations on each player.

"They all have their different days when they're possibly allowed to come back," Harbaugh said. "Those are medical decisions in the end, not coaching decisions. When the doctors clear them to practice, that's when we'll have them."

Before Wednesday's game in Pittsburgh, there were reports that running backs Mark Ingram II and J.K. Dobbins may play against the Steelers because they were eligible to return. However, neither Ingram nor Dobbins dressed.

"It's a medical decision," Harbaugh said. "Are they physically ready to go, where it's related to COVID, or physically ready to go play football in a game like that without any practice? Those are all the things that the doctors take into consideration."

Harbaugh was specifically asked whether MVP quarterback Lamar Jackson would play against the Cowboys and he referred to his earlier answer about it being a medical decision.

RG3 Was Adamant About Staying in Game

Robert Griffin III was determined to do whatever he could to help the Ravens against Pittsburgh. So when he suffered a hamstring injury in the second quarter, Griffin remained in the game although it was clear he felt was in discomfort.

Griffin was eventually replaced by Trace McSorley in the fourth quarter, and Harbaugh praised Griffin for gutting things out that long.

"Robert wanted to play," Harbaugh said. "He insisted that he could go, he wanted to go. I thought about making the change right when I saw it. He was insisting that he wanted to go. I give him a lot of credit. I didn't know how serious it was at the time. You just go by what the player tells you. If it was more serious than that, we would've taken him out, or if he had told me it was more serious we would've taken him out."

It was only Griffin's second start since 2016. He started in Week 17 last year against the Steelers and helped Baltimore close the regular season with a victory in its franchise-best 14-2 regular season. While Griffin threw for just 33 yards, he ran for a team-high 68.

Ravens Get Tough in Red Zone

The Ravens were tough in the red zone against the Steelers, holding them to one touchdown despite four drives that penetrated inside Baltimore's 10-yard line. Tyus Bowser intercepted Ben Roethlisberger in the end zone.

Cornerback Marlon Humphrey was razor tight in coverage on several occasions near the end zone, continuing another season when he's playing at an All-Pro level.

The Ravens have talked about doing a better job of slamming the door on opponents, and they did so against Pittsburgh, which allowed them to stay in the game.

"The red zone was an area we had targeted to improve upon," Harbaugh said. "It was really good to see us step up and improve in that area. They were in there more than we wanted them to be. Sometimes, turnovers. Other times because a good offense is going to drive the ball. But get them stopped in the red zone, that was one of our goals. I thought our defense deserves a lot of credit for that."

It wasn't just the secondary locking down the Steelers. It was the defensive line led by Derek Wolfe, who has rose to the occasion with Calais Campbell, Brandon Williams, Justin Madubuike and Jihad Ward out of the lineup. Justin Ellis played 48 snaps against Pittsburgh, and Broderick Washington (27 snaps) and Aaron Crawford (21 snaps) made their presence felt in a difficult situation.

"I thought those young guys played well," Harbaugh said. "Start with Derek Wolfe, really played another outstanding game. He's been pretty dominant in there throughout the year, but especially the last few games when he's had to be. I think he's the leader in there the last few games. Now hopefully we'll get some guys back and be able to build on that."

Practice Normalcy Is Needed

The Ravens were off Thursday, but planned to return to the practice field Friday. They barely practiced during the 10 days leading up to the Pittsburgh game, and Harbaugh said the team needed to get back to a more normal routine.

"It's going to be good to get practice in," Harbaugh said. "We need to practice. We haven't practiced much, we haven't practiced hardly at all. We need to have some good practices and just get our football sea legs under us so we can go out there and perform the way we want to."

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