Tyler Huntley

Ravens Rule Out Lamar Jackson

Tyler Huntley will serve as the Ravens’ starting quarterback on Sunday, head coach John Harbaugh announced. This marks yet another missed week for Lamar Jackson, as the Ravens head into the regular season finale against the Steelers.

The Ravens’ 20-19 loss to the Rams was a costly one. They still have a chance — albeit a slim one — of making it to the playoffs, but they’ll need a whole lot to work in their favor this weekend. To qualify for an AFC Wild Card spot, the Ravens need a win, plus losses from the Chargers, Colts, and the Dolphins. The Ravens would also qualify with a win, losses from the Chargers and Colts, plus a Dolphins tie.

Huntley, a former UDFA, has had his moments, but nothing like Jackson when he’s at his best. Of course, this hasn’t been a banner year for the former MVP, but he’s still managed a 64.4% completion rate for 2,882 yards, 16 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions across a dozen starts. He’s also added 767 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ravens To Start Tyler Huntley In Week 17

Jan. 2: Huntley is expected to get the nod for the Ravens as they seek to keep their playoff hopes alive against the Rams, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter). Five Thirty Eight gives Baltimore just a 22% chance of qualifying for the postseason, and the club needs its backup passer to continue his run of quality play and pull out an unexpected victory.

Dec. 31: The Ravens’ playoff hopes are currently on life-support and no one knows that better than star quarterback Lamar Jackson. A report from Jamison Hensley, ESPN’s Ravens reporter, that Jackson once again did not participate for the portion of practice open to the media is not encouraging to Ravens’ fans. The versatile playmaker has missed the team’s last two games after leaving early in a Week 14 loss in Cleveland due to injury. Jackson sparked hope when he returned to the practice field Wednesday, albeit with a noticeable limp, but his absences yesterday and today are seen as a critical step back.

Jackson has often received criticism for a style of play that pundits believe would lead to injury. Despite their worries, the Ravens’ last two games were the only games Jackson has missed due to injury in his entire four-year career.

As a rookie in 2018, despite being a first-round pick, Jackson was not expected to start right away. The plan was always for Jackson to sit and develop behind former Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco. Jackson still appeared in plays here and there for Baltimore, appearing in a Week 1 blowout of the Bills in garbage-time and running gadget plays wherein he would run the ball or just play as a decoy. A hip injury to Flacco in a Week 9 loss to the Steelers forced the Ravens’ hand and Jackson took the reins in Week 10 and never looked back. Jackson’s rookie year was a bit of patchwork with offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg never planning to rely on Jackson. Jackson ran those gadgets plays and an offense designed for Joe Flacco en route to a 6-1 finish leading the Ravens to an AFC North title.

Jackson’s sophomore year went slightly better. The replacement of Mornhinweg with current offensive coordinator Greg Roman and an entire offseason to design and practice an offense built around Jackson’s talents led to the best season of the young quarterback’s career. In Jackson’s starts, the Ravens went 13-2 with Jackson completing 66% of his passes for 3,127 yards and throwing 36 touchdowns to only 6 interceptions. He, of course, used his talent as a runner to add 1,206 yards on 176 carries for 7 more touchdowns. Jackson did miss a game in this MVP season, though. He sat out the Ravens’ Week 17 win against Pittsburgh as Baltimore had already secured home field advantage throughout the playoffs and was resting most of their starters.

Jackson’s third season showed the quarterback come back down to earth a bit. The stats were not quite as gaudy, but the reigning MVP continued to collect wins. He did take one big step forward in 2020, silencing a narrative about his inability to win in the playoffs, beating a Titans team that had beaten them in the regular season. Jackson missed another game this season as he spent Week 12 on the COVID-19/reserve list.

So despite a charged narrative of Jackson’s inability to play his flashy style of football and stay healthy, up until the thirteenth week of his fourth NFL season, Jackson had missed one game as he rested for the playoffs, one game on the COVID-19 list, and one game in 2021 due to a non-COVID illness. When Jackson finally did get injured, much to the pundits chagrin, it was on a passing play. As Jackson performed a standard roll-out, he was chased from behind by Browns’ rookie Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah. As Jackson released the ball, Owusu-Koramoah dove at the quarterback’s ankles, a play prohibited in the NFL’s definition of the Roughing the Passer rule, landing on both ankles and causing the sprain that has been described as a possible bone bruise.

In Jackson’s absence, Tyler Huntley, an undrafted free agent in 2020, has performed admirably leading the Ravens to a near-comeback in Cleveland and losing by one point to the NFC-leading Packers on a failed 2-point conversion play. When Huntley entered COVID-19 protocols just before a game in Cincinnati, the Ravens turned to journeyman Josh Johnson who put up an impressive performance, but was unable to keep up as Joe Burrow sliced-and-diced an ailing Baltimore secondary.

Even if Jackson is able to return, the injuries have certainly crippled the Ravens’ once-vaunted defense. The teams’ two star cornerbacks and free safety are on IR and, like the rest of the league, they’ve struggled keeping their healthy players off the COVID-19/reserve list as the omicron variant tears through the league. Jackson has also been in quite a slump this season throwing only 8 touchdowns to 10 interceptions in his last 7 games before getting injured.

The Ravens have lots to overcome to earn some wins as the regular season comes to a close, but they also may need help getting into the playoffs. Baltimore currently does not control their own destiny, meaning there are situations in which the Ravens win their final two games and miss the playoffs, even while there are still scenarios wherein the Ravens win their division. The Ravens can win the division simply by winning their final two games against the Rams and Steelers, while the Bengals lose their final two games against the Chiefs and at the Browns. If Baltimore loses one of their final two games, they’ll need help around the league to continue their season as a wild card team.

Regardless of the situations outside of Baltimore and how they play out, it’s hard to imagine the Ravens making much noise if their best player isn’t the one taking snaps. As of right now, though, things are trending toward Huntley starting yet another game against an NFC division-leader.

NFL COVID-19 List Updates: 12/30/21

Here are Thursday’s reserve/COVID-19 list updates:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

  • Activated from virus list: OL Cody Ford, CB Cam Lewis
  • Activated from practice squad virus list: TE Quintin Morris

Carolina Panthers

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

  • Placed on practice squad virus list: LB Omari Cobb

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

NFL COVID List Updates: 12/25-12/26/21

We’ve compiled a list of players who were placed on or activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list on Christmas and today. In some instances, players activated from the list remain on IR:

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Placed on practice squad/COVID-19 list: WR Steven Sims

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

Ravens Place Tyler Huntley On COVID-19 List

Ravens quarterback Tyler Huntley has been placed on the COVID-19 reserve list (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport and Aditi Kinkhabwala). Huntley was expected to start in place of Lamar Jackson as he deals with a lingering ankle issue. Now, unless Jackson can play, the Ravens will be forced to start journeyman Josh Johnson on Sunday.

Huntley, who entered the league as an undrafted free agent, has fared well in Jackson’s stead. The Utah product had the Packers on the ropes in Week 15, throwing for 215 yards and rushing for 73 more. Unfortunately, they fell 31-30, giving them their third-straight loss of season. Now down to 8-6, the Ravens badly need a win against the Bengals tomorrow.

Johnson, 35, has signed deals with nearly half of the NFL, but he’s never played in such a pivotal game. His recent resume includes four games for Washington (2018), a cup of coffee with the San Diego Fleet in the Alliance of American Football (2019), a few gams with the XFL’s Los Angeles Wildcats (2020), and three appearances for the Jets earlier this year.

Thanks to the league’s revised COVID-19 protocols, Huntley could be cleared in time for Week 17 against the Rams. However, given the tight timeline, he has no path to playing in Cincinnati.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ravens Expected To Start Tyler Huntley In Week 16

Lamar Jackson is likely to miss another game because of the ankle issue he is battling. Tyler Huntley is expected to start against the Bengals on Sunday, Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com notes.

Jackson missing again was the anticipated course of action; the former MVP missed all three Ravens practices this week. Huntley missed Friday’s due to a non-COVID illness but should be ready to make another start. Both Jackson and Huntley are listed as questionable.

Huntley has fared well in relief of Jackson, despite his UDFA status. The ex-Utah Ute had the Packers on the ropes in Week 15, throwing for 215 yards and rushing for 73 in a 31-30 loss. Baltimore, however, lost in Huntley’s relief outing against Cleveland and via a missed two-point conversion against Green Bay. Of course, the Ravens lost their most recent game with Jackson as well. They have lost three straight.

With a win over the Bengals, the Ravens would boast a 67% chance to win the AFC North, per ESPN’s Football Power Index. Illustrating the stakes Sunday, a loss would drop Baltimore to an 8.7% chance of booking a playoff home game. A loss would hurt the Ravens’ chances of merely making the playoffs; they have matchups with the Rams and Steelers remaining.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

QB Lamar Jackson’s Ankle Is Sprained

After star quarterback Lamar Jackson left today’s game with an injury, Ravens’ fans braced for the worst as they’ve been dealt blow after blow with season ending injuries all year. Well, Baltimore can breathe a small sigh of relief as Bleacher Report’s Timothy Rapp reports that Jackson has been diagnosed with a sprained ankle.

The Ravens have been plagued all season by injuries to big name players. Before the season ever started, they saw running backs J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards, and Justice Hill, cornerback Marcus Peters, linebacker L.J. Fort, and defensive end Derek Wolfe all deal with injuries that would keep them out for the entire 2021-22 season. Over the course of the season, they’ve lost offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley, safety DeShon Elliott, and cornerback Marlon Humphrey all to season ending injuries, as well. Not to mention they’ve seen a litany of players like defensive end Calais Campbell, tight end Nick Boyle, and fullback Patrick Ricard miss time with injuries over the season.

As brutal as these setbacks have been, losing Lamar Jackson for the year would effectively end any chance for a successful season in Baltimore. With the only returning running back from Baltimore’s record-breaking rushing offense being former-practice squad player Ty’Son Williams, Baltimore very quickly asked the 24-year old Jackson to shoulder more of the offense than he previously had in his career. Not only does Jackson captain the passing attack and lead the team in rushing, but the next closest player on the team in rushing yards has 322 less yards than Jackson. There is arguably no player more crucial to their team’s success than Lamar Jackson and his injury status appearing to be short-term is a bit of solace for a bruised Ravens team.

In his absence, second-year undrafted free agent Tyler Huntley will be available to fill in. Huntley has seen game action a few times in his short career and earned his first career start when Jackson missed Week 11 with a sickness. Huntley led the Ravens to a win over the Bears that week utilizing a 72-yard game-winning touchdown drive with 1:33 left in the 4th quarter. When Huntley replaced Jackson today in Cleveland, the Ravens were down 10-0 and saw their deficit grow to 24-6 before Huntley led a second half comeback effort that fell short with the Ravens just out of field goal range in a 24-22 loss.

The Ravens’ schedule doesn’t let next week as the Packers visit for an afternoon matchup. Baltimore will want to give Jackson a chance to practice before announcing Huntley as the starter. And they’ll be hoping for good news as they look to close out a contentious AFC North over a daunting last four games of the season.

Ravens QB Lamar Jackson Out For Week 11

The Ravens’ brutal 2021 season continues. Baltimore’s injured reserve list includes a number of top-flight starters, and the club has dealt with plenty of other injuries besides those significant enough to warrant an IR designation. Now, the Ravens will be without starting QB Lamar Jackson for their matchup against the Bears this afternoon.

Jackson is dealing with a non-COVID illness, which Peter Schrager of the NFL Network reports is a “congestion of the lungs” (Twitter link). Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network says the exact virus has not been identified (it’s not the flu), but while the team’s medical staff tried to keep Jackson hydrated enough to play, he is simply not healthy enough to do so (Twitter links).

Adam Schefter of ESPN.com adds (via Twitter) that this virus went through the organization last week, and other players like WR Rashod Bateman and C Bradley Bozeman were also affected. Only Jackson, however, is missing today’s game as a result of the illness.

But the Ravens are dealing with other injuries that will further undermine their chances to win today’s game. Top receiver Marquise Brown is out with a thigh injury, NT Brandon Williams is out with his lingering shoulder ailment, and Baltimore is down to three healthy corners, as CBs Anthony Averett and Jimmy Smith are also inactive.

Backup QB Tyler Huntley will get his first career start in Jackson’s absence. Huntley, a 2020 UDFA, has a strong arm and offers a fair amount of running ability, so his game mimics that of Jackson. But the Ravens will obviously miss their 2019 MVP in a big way.

Despite all of their injuries (and illnesses), the team has managed a 6-3 record, largely as a result of Jackson’s heroics. A surprising Week 10 loss to the Dolphins, though, may prove damaging down the line, especially with a difficult end-of-season schedule that features five divisional games plus contests against the Packers and Rams. Now, Huntley will be called upon to keep his team atop the AFC North before that challenging stretch gets underway.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Reserve/Futures Contracts: 1/18/21

With the Ravens, Browns, and Rams getting eliminated from the playoffs over the weekend, both teams announced their slew of reserve/futures deals on Monday. As a reminder, these are all non-guaranteed deals, usually for practice squad type players, to help teams flesh out their 90-man offseason rosters.

Baltimore Ravens

Cleveland Browns

Los Angeles Rams

Minor NFL Transactions: 1/15/21

Here are the latest NFL minor moves:

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Green Bay Packers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers