Baltimore Ravens star signal caller Lamar Jackson has been bothered by a nagging ankle injury that has forced him to miss the past three games. The Ravens, who at one point were cruising at 8-3 and held the No. 1 seed in the AFC, have lost five straight games and are clinging for their playoff lives at 8-8 following Sunday’s 20-19 home loss to the Rams.
The collapse places them as a No. 11 seed needing a ton of help to make the playoffs. The Ravens face the Pittsburgh Steelers at home to finish the season.
With Lamar Jackson, ANYTHING is possible. https://t.co/ffQ4AutZVs
— Ryan Mink (@ryanmink) December 29, 2021
Ravens Should Rest Jackson For Next Season: Ankle Injuries Can Be Tricky
On Wednesday, Jackson reportedly hobbled through his first practice in weeks. Thursday he was not on the practice field, which is potentially a sign that he may have suffered a setback. Jackson was injured in a 24-22 road loss to the Cleveland Browns on Dec. 12.
A hobbled Jackson is basically rendered useless, as his legs are his best asset and what makes the “Lamar Jackson Experience” a captivating show. Without his legs he’s relegated to the pocket, which isn’t his strength.
Lamar Jackson back at practice for the first time in more than 2 weeks #RavensFlock pic.twitter.com/FTEfKYBSEP
— Melissa Y. Kim (@melissaykim) December 29, 2021
The Ravens aren’t Super Bowl-ready this season. And with Jackson hampered, there’s really no need to risk further injury. The smart play is to rest him until next season.
Jackson has rushed for 767 yards and two touchdowns. The former MVP has also produced 2,882 passing yards with 16 touchdown passes and 13 interceptions. Tyler Huntley has proved to be just as adequate a passer and he does have great mobility. But he’s not the future, so let him take the bullets right now.
Lamar Jackson took deeper drop-backs than these, but you can tell he felt more comfortable throwing quick hitters with his upper body than from his base. pic.twitter.com/w5A6sO4TTa
— Jonas Shaffer (@jonas_shaffer) December 29, 2021
John Harbaugh said Jackson was questionable ahead of Sunday’s loss to the Rams, but video footage from the week leading up to the game showed a hobbled and compromised Jackson gutting through a practice he had no business participating in.
Harbaugh sounded like a desperate head coach trying to keep the other team guessing in the pregame press conference.
“I think he’s got a chance to play on Sunday. We’ll have to see. This time of year, you’ve got guys with different things. He has what he has, some other guys have their dings and things like that. It’s all hands on deck. The guys who are ready to play and can play, will. The guys who aren’t can’t and won’t.”
Backup Tyler Huntley Gives Them A Better Shot Right Now, Although He Wasn’t Great Sunday
Huntley, who came off the COVID-19 list on Thursday, has shined in place of Jackson. He’s led the Ravens to a victory over the Bears, a near-win over Cleveland and a close 31-30 loss to the Packers. The Ravens can win with Huntley, and right now he’s a better option for them because he’s got his full mobility.
Black QBs Soared & Sunk On Sunday | Lamar Jackson Who? Ravens Backup Tyler Huntley Showed Out
That escapability is vital with the offensive line struggling most of the season. Jackson has been battered behind that line for much of the season.
Tyler Huntley 1st half vs Packers:
🟣 137 yards
🟣 2 TDs
🟣 115.1 passer rating pic.twitter.com/ufUhP6ZaF1
— PFF (@PFF) December 19, 2021
Huntley did his best to elude the Rams rush, but he wasn’t that same sharp and efficient player. With the archrival Steelers and their elite pass rush on the docket next week, Baltimore should just put the franchise on ice.
Injuries, Coaching Decisions, And COVID-19 Have Played A Huge Role In Baltimore’s Season
The Ravens have the second-most players on injured reserve in the league with 18, only the Giants have more with 23. When you lose players like JK Dobbins, Marlon Humphrey, Ronnie Stanley, Marcus Peters and a host of others, it’s tough. But for 11 weeks Jackson played like “Superman” and had this team at the top of the AFC.
Harbaugh is a huge analytics coach, and going for two is something he does, but some of his decisions have cost the team games they probably could’ve won in overtime. One has to second guess some of those decisions.
Lastly, COVID-19 has ravaged the entire league, but when you’re already down a ton of guys this just adds an even bigger burden.
With all that being said the Ravens still have a shot to get into the playoffs. They’ll need some help, but we’ve seen it happen before. It will just have to happen without LJ8 behind center. There’s always next season for the 24-year-old QB.
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