Joe Flacco

AFC North Notes: Harbaugh, Flacco, Green

We learned last week that Ravens HC John Harbaugh is on the hot seat, and the team’s Week 9 loss to the division-rival Steelers did not do him any favors. Today, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports writes that Baltimore and Harbaugh are indeed heading for a “mutual parting of the ways.” While it is highly unlikely that Harbaugh will be fired before the end of the season — there is, after all, no dysfunction in the locker room and there are no obvious in-house candidates to replace Harbaugh — La Canfora says that 2018 is likely to be Harbaugh’s last on the Ravens’ sidelines. With the team transitioning to a new GM and facing a potential roster overhaul, both parties appear prepared to move on amicably.

Now for more from the AFC North:

  • One name who could be part of the Ravens‘ above-referenced overhaul, of course, is quarterback Joe Flacco. Flacco is battling a hip injury and has been spotted on crutches, though Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network describes the injury as more of a day-to-day malady than a week-to-week one (video link). So if Flacco can practice when the Ravens return to the field in a couple of days — they are on a bye this week — he will likely play. But Rapoport says Baltimore is “relishing” the uncertainty that the situation is creating for the team’s next opponent, the Bengals, and he expects first-round pick Lamar Jackson to get increased snaps whether Flacco plays or not.
  • As Adam Schefter of ESPN.com observes, Flacco’s injury does have a silver lining for the Ravens. If he is unable to suit up for next week’s game or for the next several games, Baltimore would have a better idea of where Jackson is at the moment — he is reportedly still struggling in practice — which would allow the club to better determine whether to retain Flacco in 2019 or move on.
  • Rapoport tweets that Bengals WR A.J. Green is “likely” to miss next week’s game against the Ravens, though there is a chance he will be able to suit up. That is a rosier outlook than the one presented by Schefter, who said earlier this week that Green will definitely miss the Ravens game and could miss multiple games after that. Schefter doubled down on that report today, saying that a December return is looking increasingly likely (Twitter link). Rapoport says 2018 seventh-rounder Auden Tate, who was waived last month but who was signed to the practice squad just one day later, has impressed and will see plenty of snaps in Green’s absence. Tate was promoted from the practice squad on Monday.
  • Although reports have suggested that the Browns will take a different approach to their head coach hiring process this time around, their are plenty of people in the coaching community who are still concerned about how the search will play out. La Canfora writes that team owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam do not have a good reputation in coaching circles, and they have been increasingly hands-on during their ownership, so it is fair to wonder whether GM John Dorsey will truly be running the show. There is even skepticism within the Browns’ organization that Dorsey will be given full autonomy, as the Haslams hired Hue Jackson over the protestations of almost all of their football operations staff, which wanted to hire Sean McDermott instead.
  • We learned earlier today that the Steelers are likely to put the transition tag on Le’Veon Bell, and we took another look at Bell’s future in the league.

Extra Points: Giants, 49ers, Flacco, Ravens, Titans, Trade Deadline,

Fires are raging through California right now, and they could wind up having an impact on the NFL slate this week. The Rams’ practice facility is very close to some of the fires, but their game against the Seahawks is expected to go on without interruption. That may not be the case for the 49ers, who host the Giants on Monday night.

“Postponement of Monday night’s game against the Giants could potentially happen”, according to Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk. According to Florio, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan acknowledged that postponement or relocation were very real possibilities, and said the team had to cut practice short on Friday because of the air quality. It’s a situation that bears watching over the course of the weekend.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • It was reported earlier this week that Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco was dealing with a mysterious hip injury, and now we have some more concerning news. Flacco has reportedly been spotted on crutches, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link), a sign that the injury is pretty serious. Whatever Flacco is dealing with, it clearly isn’t something minor and he should be considered very likely to miss games at this point.
  • The Titans ultimately stood pat at the trade deadline, but it wasn’t for a lack of trying. Tennessee’s front office “was in on a lot of guys”, including receiver Amari Cooper, according to Jim Wyatt of Titansonline.com. Wyatt writes that the team “inquired about several receivers“, but balked at the draft pick compensation that was being asked for. It’s interesting but not surprising, considering the Titans have a pretty thin receiving corp, especially since tight end Delanie Walker was lost for the season.
  • In case you missed it, the Colts’ second round pick Tyquan Lewis will make his NFL debut tomorrow after he was activated from injured reserve yesterday.

Joe Flacco Dealing With Hip Injury

As the Ravens attempt to vie for a playoff berth, they may have an issue at quarterback. Joe Flacco‘s now dealing with a hip injury, according to The Athletic’s Jeff Zreibec. Flacco’s status for next week’s game is in jeopardy, Zreibec reports (subscription required).

Currently in their bye week, the Ravens are ramping up Lamar Jackson for a possible Week 11 starting debut. Flacco is seeking medical opinions, per Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, who adds Baltimore’s course of action may not be known until next week (Twitter links). But it may well be trending in the direction of Jackson moving into a starting role for the time being.

Zreibec reports Flacco suffered this injury on the Ravens’ sixth offensive play against the Steelers last week. Flacco played through the issue last week and was seen limping in the locker room postgame. The Ravens are obviously concerned their longtime starter won’t be able to take the snaps next week.

Jackson has taken snaps this season in specialty packages, as an admittedly uninspired Flacco lines up at wide receiver, but has only attempted 12 passes. The 2016 Heisman Trophy winner completed seven of those. He’s run for 139 yards on 28 carries.

The rookie was not viewed to be as refined of a passing prospect as the four other quarterbacks drafted in the first round, and the Ravens were not looking at promoting Jackson yet. However, La Canfora notes they do want to see more of the Louisville product. That may well happen soon. Home games against the Bengals and Raiders represent the next assignments on the Ravens’ schedule.

Flacco has missed just six starts in an 11-year career. All of those came in 2015 due to a torn ACL.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Ravens, Flacco, Brady, Jets

Receiver Breshad Perriman has disappointed since being selected in the first round of the 2015 draft. In three seasons with the Ravens, the 24-year-old has hauled in only 43 receptions for 576 yards and three touchdowns. Considering his lack of production and the team’s depth at his position, Perriman understands that this is a make-or-break year.

“It’s a scary topic,” he told Edward Lee of The Baltimore Sun. “You know what’s on the line; you know that everything is on the line. It’s kind of like a make-or-break year, but at the same time, you can’t put that extra pressure on yourself. So I just really want to go out there and get better every day and control what you can control. Go out there and get better every day and go hard and everything will play out.”

The Ravens signed three free agent receivers in Michael Crabtree, John Brown and Willie Snead, and the also drafted a pair of wideouts in Jaleel Scott and Jordan Lasley. Naturally, Perriman recognizes that he’ll have to compete for a roster spot.

“This whole game is nothing but competition,” he said. “So it’s basically just the same thing. We all embrace it, and we all know that it’s a lot of competition. At the same time, we still want the best for each other and we still encourage each other and motivate each other. When we step out here between these lines, we’re all just trying to compete and make plays.”

Let’s take a look at some more notes from around the AFC…

  • There’s been plenty of talk about the Ravens decision to select quarterback Lamar Jackson in the first round of this past year’s draft. Agent Joe Linta told Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic that incumbent quarterback Joe Flacco had expected the organization to select a signal-caller, just not in the first round. “We talked about it many times, We knew they were going to draft somebody; I would have thought it may have been a Mason Rudolph situation,” said Linta, referring to the situation between the Steelers and Ben Roethlisberger. “But they had a guy they targeted, and they took him. They didn’t do anything wrong…A lot of people in the media have to create a controversy. No one is mad that they picked a QB. [Ravens executives] are not stupid. They want to win more than they want Joe out. You got a 33-year-old guy with two major injuries. It would be bad business for them to not have a good guy behind him.”
  • Tom Brady may have been absent from team OTAs, but it sounds like he’s going to be early for Patriots training camp. As Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk.com points out, Brady commented on a Patriots Instagram post stating that he’ll be showing up to training camp four days early. Brady has previously said he missed non-mandatory minicamp due to “personal reasons,” and he made an appearance at Patriots practice in early June.
  • Jets wideout Robby Anderson is set to be a restricted free agent next offseason, and Brian Costello of the New York Post says it’d be a shock if the team didn’t bring him back. However, the writer notes that the embattled 25-year-old could receive a lucrative offer from another team if he has a big 2018 season. Legal issues aside, the former undrafted free agent has looked like a starting receiver during his two years with the Jets, including a 2017 campaign where he hauled in 63 receptions for 941 yards and seven touchdowns.

Draft Notes: Penny, Chiefs, Jets, Jackson

Excepting the Eli Manning-for-Philip Rivers exchange, NFL draft trades rarely unfold like NBA draft-night swaps, with teams making picks and then sending players elsewhere. But the Seahawks indicated such an offer emerged on Thursday night. After they’d made their somewhat surprising Rashaad Penny selection at No. 27, John Schneider said (via Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times) another team called them to try and acquire the running back. Schneider said that was the first time he’d seen such an offer as an NFL executive. Schneider said he would have authorized a Penny pick at No. 18, which would have been even more interesting since the San Diego State product was viewed as a fringe first-round prospect going into the night, and the Seahawks obviously held onto their new rookie after the surely strange phone call.

Here’s more from the draft world going into Night 2.

  • Despite talk connecting the Jets to Baker Mayfield, Josh Allen, and (to a lesser extent) Josh Rosen before the draft, Sam Darnold was the top quarterback on their board, Manish Mehta of the Daily News tweets. The Jets did not expect Darnold to be on the board at No. 3, hence the franchise’s late maneuvering to secure more face time with its top QB prospect.
  • The Chiefs made two blockbuster trades this offseason, and the team unloading Marcus Peters for second- and fourth-round draft choices deprives Kansas City of what was probably a top-three player on its roster. The now-Brett Veach-run franchise had discussions of moving up from No. 54 and all the way into the first round, and they’ve been reportedly considering a trade-up sequence in Round 2. Albert Breer of SI.com reports the Chiefs discussed moving into the Eagles‘ No. 32 spot last night before the Ravens did so and that a move north tonight will be with a cornerback acquisition in mind. The Chiefs traded for Kendall Fuller and signed David Amerson, but their defense — the No. 30 DVOA unit with Peters — still has a need at this spot.
  • Some evaluators think that Lamar Jackson‘s best position in the NFL would be at wide receiver, but don’t tell that to Ravens offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg. When asked about his plans for the Louisville product, he said, “[Jackson] is a quarterback. Done.” (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero). He also emphasized that Joe Flacco will remain the team’s starter.

Joe Flacco In Concussion Protocol

Joe Flacco has entered concussion protocol, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (on Twitter). This comes less than 15 minutes after Kiko Alonso delivered a controversial hit to the Ravens quarterback’s head on a Flacco slide attempt.

The Ravens ruled Flacco out for the remainder of the game with a concussion.

This comes as little surprise to those watching Thursday night’s Dolphins-Ravens game, given the impact of Alonso’s penalized hit, and Ryan Mallett has taken over for Flacco. The Ravens are up 20-0, with Mallett having thrown a touchdown pass after being summoned in the red zone, but the team’s chances obviously take a hit without their starter.

Although Flacco has struggled this year, he’s been mostly durable during his 10-year career. He missed time earlier this year due to a back injury, but it didn’t cost him any regular-season time. A severe knee injury shelved him for six games in 2015, but Flacco has started every other regular-season contest since the Ravens picked him in the 2008 first round.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Rumors: Chargers, D. Harris, Flacco

A league spokesperson, Joe Lockhart, said earlier this week there have been no discussions about the Chargers returning to San Diego, and a team source confirmed as much to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. The source said simply, “We’re not going back.”

Of course, the Chargers are losing the battle for Los Angeles at the moment, leading some to speculate that the league could choose to reverse course and ship the Bolts back from whence they came. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk also suggests that Lockhart’s quote is not as unequivocal as it could be; Lockhart said there have been no discussions about a return to San Diego, not that a return will not happen. Plus, Florio points out that the Chargers source who spoke with Rapoport did so anonymously, which creates the impression that there’s something sensitive about the notion that the Chargers aren’t looking back.

That may be a bit of a reach, particularly since San Diego still does not have a stadium option, which prompted the move in the first place. Anything can happen, of course, but as of right now, it does not look as if the Chargers will be leaving LA.

Now for more from the AFC. We took a swing around the NFC earlier today:

  • Patriots linebacker David Harris, whom the team signed to a two-year, $5MM deal ($1.25MM guaranteed) in June, has been active for four of New England’s five games but has played in only seven defensive snaps. He is behind four other players on the LB depth chart, leading Mike Reiss of ESPN.com to speculate that, without a significant injury to another player, Harris’ job could be in jeopardy. Reiss cites Harris’ lack of speed as the primary reason for his lack of playing time.
  • After starting the season 2-0, the Ravens have looked awful in their following two games against the Jaguars and Steelers, making today’s matchup the Raiders almost a must-win. As usual, quarterback Joe Flacco has been a popular whipping boy for the team’s struggles, despite the rash of crippling injuries to the O-line, the lack of a running game, and the lack of imagination in play-calling. But it is clear that something has to give, though if Baltimore were inclined to release Flacco — and Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun suggests that thought is not on anyone’s mind at the moment — it would likely not happen until 2019 at the earliest. At that point, if Baltimore continues to struggle, the Ravens could have a whole new coaching staff. It is worth noting, as Zrebiec does, that the one time in Flacco’s career that he has worked with an accomplished offensive coordinator (Gary Kubiak in 2014), he enjoyed the best season of his career, even though the talent around him was not much better than it usually is.
  • Although Browns fans may not like to hear it, Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plainer Dealer believes that Cleveland’s front office is going about building the team the right way. It is stockpiling picks, limiting free agent spending, and some young players are developing as hoped. There have, of course, been some missteps in terms of personnel evaluation, but Pluto suggests the coaching staff is as much to blame for the team’s 1-19 record over the last 20 games as the front office. He says the only thing to do is to stay the course and continue to focus on the draft, though the team will likely need to spend more in free agency than it originally expected. It may also need to reevaluate DeShone Kizer sooner than it hoped.

AFC Notes: Ward, Landry, Flacco, Bengals

Although Broncos head coach Vance Joseph told reporters Tuesday that he “would be surprised” if they traded safety T.J. Ward, his time on their roster is running out, Mike Klis of 9News suggests. Whether the Broncos trade or release Ward, their safety depth makes him expendable, Klis argues. Moving on from Ward would mean jettisoning someone whose reckless style has led to injury issues, as Klis points out that he missed seven games over the previous three years and hasn’t played any preseason games this summer on account of a hamstring strain. While Klis notes that Ward remains a quality player, he nonetheless expects the Broncos to make the difficult decision of parting with a defender who has made two Pro Bowls and started in all 41 of his games during his three-year tenure with the club. Despite Ward’s accomplished resume, both his age (30) and salary ($4.5MM) torpedo his trade value, Klis contends. If the Broncos end up having to cut Ward, they’d avoid paying him any of the $4.5MM he’s owed.

More from the AFC:

  • Dolphins coach Adam Gase assured Jarvis Landry this week that he’s not on the trade block – a gesture the wide receiver appreciated. “Coach Gase did an amazing job,” Landry told Steven Wine of the Associated Press. “He called me in and he just talked to me, explained to me the situation and everything that’s going on, and that that’s false (speculation). That’s all I really needed to hear from him.” Regardless of whether the Dolphins have shopped Landry, the contract-year player’s time in Miami could be winding down. Landry informed Wine that he still has no interest in negotiating an extension once the season starts, giving the Dolphins under two weeks to re-sign the prolific pass catcher. They’ve been in no hurry to re-up Landry, though, so it continues to look as if an answer on his future won’t come until next offseason.
  • Ravens head coach John Harbaugh updated the statuses of two of his key offensive players – quarterback Joe Flacco and wide receiver Breshad Perriman – on Tuesday, per Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun. Flacco, who has been out for over a month with a back injury, is throwing again and “moving toward practice,” according to Harbaugh. Flacco still needs medical clearance to return to the field, but Harbaugh expects him under center for the Ravens’ season opener against Cincinnati on Sept. 10. And the coach is “very optimistic” Perriman will suit up for Week 1. The oft-injured 2015 first-round pick has been unavailable since Aug. 1 because of a hamstring issue.
  • Bengals tight end Mason Schreck suffered an MCL injury Sunday that will lead to a lengthy absence and impact the team’s roster decisions, Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports (on Twitter). As a seventh-round pick stuck behind Tyler Eifert, Tyler Kroft and C.J. Uzomah on Cincy’s depth chart, Schreck was already facing an uphill battle to make the club before the injury.

AFC Rumors: Osweiler, Flacco, Bills, Jaguars

Earlier this week, Joe Thomas was asked if he could name all 18 quarterbacks the Browns have started during his tenure. The perennial All-Pro left tackle passed the test, and with Cody Kessler having been demoted to third string for now, that number figures to expand to at least 19 this season. Thomas believes the other veteran in the clubhouse will be the Week 1 starter.

I might be going out on a limb here, but I think they’re grooming Brock (Osweiler) to be the starter in Week 1 based on what I’ve seen,” Thomas said, via the Associated Press’ Tom Withers. “It is a competition, but I would expect Brock to win because of his experience.”

Osweiler’s primary competition is now DeShone Kizer, the team’s second-round pick who fared well against Saints backups in the Browns’ preseason opener. Kizer remains in the mix due to a combination of physical skills and instincts for the position, Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com notes.

Here’s the latest out of the AFC:

  • John Harbaugh, per Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com, said Joe Flacco won’t practice this coming week as the Ravens starting quarterback continues to recover from a back injury. This will mean four straight weeks without practice for the 10th-year passer, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport points out (via Twitter). The plan remains for Flacco to start in Week 1 against the Bengals, but if the 32-year-old signal-caller doesn’t practice during Week 3 of the preseason, the Baltimore Sun’s Jeff Zreibec notes (on Twitter) Flacco will get two weeks at most of work before the Baltimore opener. And Zreibec is skeptical he will get that much work (Twitter link).
  • Reggie Ragland has yet to assimilate well into Sean McDermott‘s scheme, and Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News expects the Bills to attempt to trade the ex-Alabama stalwart. Carucci notes a trade to a team that uses a 3-4 defense would make sense. Buffalo has shifted to a 4-3, and the 2016 second-round pick’s current status — stationed on the third team — is not exactly acceptable for such a big recent investment. PFR’s Dallas Robinson put Ragland on his list of trade candidates.
  • Should Cordy Glenn‘s foot trouble linger much longer, Carucci expects the Bills to target outside tackle help. Specifying the waiver wire as the player-procurement practice of choice to add a tackle, Carucci notes second-round rookie Dion Dawkins would be the top in-house option to start there if Glenn is unable to man his post. After Austin Pasztor‘s Falcons agreement, the tackle market looks thin. McDermott said (via Mike Rodak of ESPN.com) he’s not quite ready to relocate Dawkins from the right tackle competition, where he’s battling incumbent Jordan Mills. However, Dawkins took left-edge reps Friday in practice, while Seantrel Henderson — suspended for the season’s first five games — lined up at right tackle.
  • Tom Coughlin‘s brought some old-school training techniques to Jaguars camp. Albert Breer of SI.com observed the Jags doing up-downs following their joint practice with the Patriots, and this didn’t sit well with some Jacksonville players. One told Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio the rarely utilized conditioning method will shorten his career “by at least two years.” While that may be an extreme estimate, Florio adds other Jaguars have grumbled about the throwback conditioning style. Florio notes Coughlin is believed to have pushed for a greater conditioning emphasis.

AFC Notes: Bengals, Flacco, Boldin, Landry

PFR sends best wishes to Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis, who “will be taking time away from the team to focus on a minor health issue,” according to a club announcement. Specifically, Lewis is dealing with a Baker’s Cyst on his ankle, but the initial fear was that he had a blood clot, per Stacey Dales of NFL Network (Twitter link). The Bengals expect Lewis to return sometime this week, fortunately, and special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons will hold the reins as long as he’s out.

More from the AFC:

  • There’s no comeback date for Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, who’s dealing with a back injury, but a second opinion last week yielded news that was “positive for a slow return,” a league source told ESPN’s Dan Graziano (via Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com). The Ravens can afford to be patient with Flacco because he’s a 10-year veteran who has a full understanding of their offense, noted head coach John Harbaugh. “Every play we’ve run, he’s run before numerous times,” Harbaugh said.
  • The Bills’ signing of Anquan Boldin could help put them in position to land a third-round compensatory pick next offseason, writes Mike Rodak of ESPN.com. Because the Bills signed seven free agents and lost five prior to May 9, the cutoff date for the compensatory formula, they aren’t poised to receive a pick at the moment. But Boldin may make one of those signings, wideout Andre Holmes, expendable, and Rodak lists fellow FA additions Vlad Ducasse (guard) and Ryan Davis (defensive end) as release candidates. Parting with all three would give the Bills more losses than signings (five to four), thus netting them a valuable pick for 2018.
  • This week, the girlfriend of Dolphins wide receiver Jarvis Landry issued a statement regarding the allegations that were raised against him earlier this year (Twitter link via Ian Rapoport of NFL.com). “In March of 2017 the father of my child and I had a vocal disagreement that resulted in someone calling 911. I, myself did not call the police. When the police arrived they determined that there was no cause for any arrests nor was there any concern for my physical well-being. There were no arrests made, there were no criminal charges, I was not in any way physically harmed Yes, we are going through a civil family court case and emotions are high, but I would like to make it very clear that Jarvis would never, ever do anything to harm me or anyone else. Jarvis and I are happily raising our beautiful daughter and I would like to make a plea to the media that they refrain from spreading this completely false story.”

Zach Links contributed to this post.