Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson Is Still Ailing | The Stakes Are High For Backup Tyler Huntley Entering Crucial AFC North Showdown

(Photo: Getty Images)

The Baltimore Ravens have lost three straight games by a combined four points. A team that was once 8-3 and the No. 1 seed in the AFC three weeks ago is now 8-6 and on the outside looking in on the playoff race.

Two of those losses came as a result of head coach John Harbaugh taking the analytics approach and going for two and the win after his team fought to tie games in Pittsburgh and at home last week against the Packers.

 

 

With former MVP Lamar Jackson still ailing, backup quarterback Tyler Huntley will most likely be thrust into the middle of a massive AFC North showdown against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. Huntley has shined in two starts this season for the Ravens. He pulled out a 16-13 road win over the Bears.

Sunday’s loss to the Packers was a win for Huntely’s public image because he singlehandedly led them back from two touchdowns down to the cusp of victory.

Huntley was poised and potent with his arm and legs and at times. The Utah Utes product looked more polished then LJ8 in the passing game. It’s still Lamar’s team, but in a one-game setting for your season, Huntley has shown he’s capable of leading the team and giving them every shot to win.

 

Jackson’s Injured Ankle Is Still A Cause For Concern

The ankle injury that Lamar Jackson suffered in a 24-22 loss to the Browns wasn’t diagnosed as a high ankle sprain, but it was significant enough to have him in a walking boot leaving Cleveland. And to keep him sidelined against the Packers. He was then unable to practice all of last week. Hopefully, he can contribute to the team in some way when he returns to the practice field.

Following the Browns loss, head coach John Harbaugh seemed optimistic that his star QB would be available against the Packers. But this past Monday Harbaugh sounded a bit more concerned about Jackson’s availability heading into the huge clash with Cincinnati.

“It’s a good question, but it’s hard to answer because there’s no definitive formula,” Harbaugh told reporters. “We’re going to have to see where we’re at with all factors. You take everything into account and see what you feel best about going forward. Practice time, health-wise, all those things. That’s really all you can do.”

Sounds like Huntely is going to go on Sunday in a doe-or-die game.

Huntley Was Dynamic At Times Versus Packers In A Very Good Showing

Huntley mixed it up against the Packers, and one couldn’t help but see some resemblance to Jackson on some of his plays. He gave the Packers fits just about all game. If not for Aaron Rodgers, Huntley would have been the star signal caller of the day. Huntley went 28 of 40 for 215 yards and two touchdowns through the air and rushed for another 73 yards and two touchdowns. The Utah Utes product was downright “dynamic” in a tough loss.

 

Ravens tight end Mark Andrews raved about Huntley after Sunday’s loss.

“He’s a special player. I think everybody on the field feels a connection with him. He puts the ball where it needs to be, his eyes are great. Being behind a guy like Lamar, you learn a ton, and he’s been able to absorb all these different things. I think he’s going to be a superstar in this league for a long, long time.”

 

Jackson’s Mobility Is Compromised: Huntley May Give Them Best Shot

Jackson is one of the best at avoiding big hits on his runs, as evidenced by this run.

That’s when his legs are working. How healthy is he? And how healthy will he be come game time Sunday in Cincinnati?

Much of what Lamar does is predicated off of his elite quickness and athleticism. Along with a wiggle and “twitchiness” rarely seen in NFL history. Without that he’s just ordinary.

There’s also the consideration that if he does play he could re-injure himself, dampening the Ravens’ playoff chances even more. This Bengals defense isn’t chopped liver, as they rank in the top 15 and are third in the league in sacks. On the back end, safety Jesse Bates is a talented leader in the secondary.

 

Free agent edge rusher Trey Hendrickson has a sack in 10 straight games and a career-high 12.5 for the season. He’s a got a motor that’s comparable to that of former Bengals pass rusher Carlos Dunlap.

The Ravens need to be smart. Unless Lamar shows he’s close to 100 percent in practice every day beginning Wednesday, they should go with Huntley one more week.


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