News & Notes: Tyler Huntley Took a 'Big Step' in Backup QB Competition

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QB Tyler Huntley

One of the Ravens' most important and tightest training camp competitions has been for the job as Lamar Jackson's backup. With two more preseason games remaining, it may be settled – at least for now.

Trace McSorley thought he played through back spasms Saturday night in the preseason opener, but the injury is worse than originally thought. McSorley picked up a box on Saturday before the game, Head Coach John Harbaugh said.

"It's an issue," Harbaugh said. "He wrenched it in some way, so he's going to be out for a few weeks with that situation."

Even if McSorley weren't hurt, Tyler Huntley played well enough in the second half, leading the Ravens to a comeback 17-14 win, to take a leg up in the competition.

Huntley was 12-of-16 for 79 yards passing and also had seven carries for a team-high 43 yards. He scored the game-winning touchdown on a 7-yard quarterback keeper run up the middle.

"He came in and played excellent," Harbaugh said. "He made plays with his arm, feet and head. He took a big step in that direction to be the backup QB."

Even when the passing game isn't clicking or the protection breaks down, Huntley has an ability to make something happen with his legs. He's also had many sharp days throwing the ball in training camp, particularly deep. He has game experience from his rookie season, when he was a wide-eyed undrafted rookie who stepped in for Jackson when he a concussion knocked him out of the playoff loss.

Huntley has also earned his teammates' trust. After Saturday's game, wide receiver Devin Duvernay called him "electric" and said he can do "do things that Lamar can do."

"The boy is balling," wide receiver James Proche II said. "A lot of the passes [that] I'm on the catching end of, you look back, 'Who threw that? No. 2 Tyler Huntley.' So, I'm just proud of him. We put in a lot of work when we could, this offseason. We got back a little early, put in some work. We were here [for] minicamp. I'm always with Tyler. That's my guy. It's good to see him shine."

Ben Cleveland Is Dealing With a Concussion, Returning Soon

The Ravens got some very welcomed news on the offensive line Monday as starting right guard Kevin Zeitler returned to practice from his foot injury and left tackle Ronnie Stanley continues to ramp up.

Baltimore's other potential starting guard, rookie third-round pick Ben Cleveland, is still sidelined, however. Harbaugh said Cleveland has been dealing with a concussion. He's been out since last Wednesday, Aug. 11.

"We expect him hopefully back by Wednesday," Harbaugh said. "We'll see. Concussions are a little unpredictable."

Ben Powers, Tyre Phillips and Ben Bredeson are other competitors for the starting job, which is still up in the air with two preseason games left.

In other news, wide receiver Sammy Watkins and rookie safety Brandon Stephens both left Monday's practice early, but Harbaugh said it's "nothing serious with either one of those guys."

Odafe Oweh Shows His Athleticism as a Punt Gunner

Being a punt returner is scary enough. Now imagine seeing a 6-foot-5, 251-pound gunner barreling down at you at full (4.4) speed?

That's the kind of chaos the Ravens are toying with on special teams, as they deployed Odafe Oweh as a punt gunner in Saturday's game.

Not surprisingly, the Saints' punt returner called for a fair catch despite having some room to run. Oweh said he was disappointed he didn't try to run.

"It's fun just trying to showcase my athleticism," Oweh said. "I showcased something in practice that made it look like I could run down the field and try to make a play and [the coachers] were like, 'Oh, snap! Let's see what he can do with it.' I tried it and I liked it. I can show my long distance speed and break off an make a play."

John Harbaugh Addresses 'Foolish' Taunting Penalty

A couple days after Harbaugh said he didn't expect his players to have issues with the NFL's stepped-up enforcement of taunting penalties, cornerback Chris Westry was flagged for taunting.

Westry pointed at wide receiver Chris Hogan after Hogan dropped a pass in the fourth quarter. The penalty turned what would have been a punt on 4th-and-18 into a fresh set of downs for the Saints. Westry was immediately pulled to the sideline for a talk with Harbaugh.

"We'll call that a teachable moment," Harbaugh said. "Chris Westry was wrong, but he acknowledged it right away. He pointed, and that's going to be called this year. It probably should be called – I mean, that's what taunting is.

"Penalties are something to overcome that sometimes it's the cost of doing business, [and] sometimes it's just a foolish penalty. That obviously goes in that category of foolish penalty."

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