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Ravens Preparing for Two Quarterbacks vs. Colts

From left: Indianapolis Colts QB Gardner Minshew, Indianapolis Colts QB Anthony Richardson
From left: Indianapolis Colts QB Gardner Minshew, Indianapolis Colts QB Anthony Richardson

As the Ravens prepare for their Week 3 opponent, they aren't certain which Colts quarterback will start.

Talented rookie Anthony Richardson suffered a concussion during the Colts' 31-20 victory over the Texans on Sunday and began the week in concussion protocol. That leaves the Ravens preparing for both quarterbacks, which will make the defensive game plan slightly more challenging.

"Yes, the problem is going to be the reps," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "They're just a little bit different in what plays they run, specifically. So, we'll just have to get a feel for that as the week goes on, and really, we'll have to prepare for both."

During a Monday telephone conference with the media, Colts Head Coach Shane Steichen declined to say how much practice time Richardson could miss this week and still play Sunday.

"That's a good question," Steichen said. "I don't have a definitive answer for you right now."

Both Indianapolis quarterbacks played well in Week 2, with Richardson scoring two rushing touchdowns before he left the game in the second quarter. Richardson's dual-threat ability puts stress on any defense, and though he has just two NFL games under his belt, the fourth-overall pick is already making plays with his legs that most quarterbacks can't.

"Richardson has been – man – he's been tough to defend the last couple weeks," Harbaugh said.

However, Richardson suffered a knee contusion in Week 1, and his two injuries in two games have sparked more debate about whether durability will be an issue for him in the NFL. Richardson is solidly built at 6-foot-4, 244 pounds, but after a Week 1 loss in Jacksonville, Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence cautioned Richardson about taking too many hits.

Steichen found ways to utilize Jalen Hurts' mobility the previous two seasons as the Eagles' offensive coordinator, while also trying to keep his quarterback out of harm's way. Steichen faces a similar challenge with Richardson's unique skillset, and if he plays Sunday against the Ravens, the Colts used pre-snap motions and exotic formations to make it more difficult to defend Richardson's designed runs.

The 27-year-old Minshew isn't as dangerous with his legs as Richardson, and his 24 previous NFL starts will give the Colts (1-1) confidence if Richardson can't go. Minshew was 19 of 23 against Houston for 171 yards and a touchdown.

Harbaugh knows either quarterback the Ravens face Sunday can be dangerous, although they attack defenses differently.

"Coach Steichen brought the system from Philly, and we understand that system," Harbaugh said. "We've had a lot of that system in our system, as well, over the years. But they're different quarterbacks, for sure. Minshew, you know how he is. He can get hot, and he's a very dynamic player."

It will be another week and another challenge for Defensive Coordinator Mike Macdonald, with the Ravens coming off a strong defensive performance in their Week 2 victory over the Bengals.

"As you go along in the season everybody gets better," Harbaugh said. "You have to keep getting better just to stay the same, then, you have to outpace your opponents in terms of improvement. So that's what we'll be working on doing this week."

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