BALTIMORE — During a quiet Friday afternoon in Owings Mills in the middle of the Baltimore Ravens’ bye week, some interesting news surfaced. According to both Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic and Jason La Canfora of CBS, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco is dealing with a hip injury.
And according to the tweets of both Zrebiec and La Canfora, the early details don’t sound promising.
Zrebiec’s headline sums it up perfectly. Flacco’s status as the Ravens’ starting quarterback has already been put into question with the Ravens losing four of their last five games. In that stretch he’s thrown four touchdowns and four interceptions, and he finished with a rating of 82.9 or below in four of those five games. Those stats aren’t terrible, but Flacco’s season rating of 84.1 ranks 41st in the NFL.
Flacco’s Total Quarterback Rating (QBR), calculated by ESPN, is 56.2, which is 19th overall in the NFL. Again, not terrible, but those rankings are not as high as a quarterback playing for his job’s numbers should be.
From what Zrebiec and La Canfora said, it sounds like Flacco’s status for next Sunday’s game against the Bengals will not become public until next week. In the meantime, Ravens fans are left to talk about what the right move is for head coach John Harbaugh.
Last weekend Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported that Harbaugh is on the hot seat. If that’s true, Harbaugh could find himself in a very difficult situation. The Ravens are 4-5 with Flacco and face a very tough seven-game schedule after this week’s bye. Flacco’s body of work over the last five games has left a lot to be desired. Add this hip injury into the picture, and there becomes more reason to start Lamar Jackson and evaluate what you have in your second of two first round picks from this year’s draft.
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With his job on the line, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Flacco try his hardest to start next weekend to prevent Jackson from getting that opportunity. However, Harbaugh might have to make a very hard decision and interject himself. If the Ravens had won two of their last three games and enjoyed a winning record over their bye, trying to keep Flacco on the field would be the right call. But the Ravens are 4-5 and Harbaugh’s leash gets shorter by the hour. If Flacco isn’t getting the wins in a crucial season, wouldn’t it be fair to give Jackson a chance?
The Ravens traded back into the first round and drafted Jackson 32nd overall for a reason. They tried to light a fire under Flacco, and so far the results have the Ravens a game below .500. Sure, the defense and Justin Tucker haven’t helped the Ravens either, but there have been a handful of stalled drives by offense in the games against the Browns, Saints and Steelers that if successful would have made the Ravens’ chances of winning a lot higher.
It’s a shame that Flacco is reportedly hurt and Jackson still might not be ready, but at some point you have to see what you have in your first-round quarterback, especially if your job is on the line and your starting quarterback who’s played average football is banged up.
And that’s the million dollar question. If the Ravens play Jackson after the bye and fail to reach the playoffs, firing Harbaugh could still be on the table but might not work out for the best. Would firing a head coach just one season after drafting Jackson be what’s best for the quarterback’s development? And if Harbaugh stays, does he move on from Marty Mornhinweg, a man he’s shown an unrelenting amount of loyalty towards, and put Jackson into a completely new system?
It’s been a long time since there’s been a quarterback controversy in Baltimore. With the Ravens losing three straight games and holding a losing record at the bye, the talks of a quarterback change began in both the local and national media. Flacco’s injury further complicates that narrative, and the Lamar Jackson era could start much sooner than many of us anticipated.
What the people of Twitter are saying…
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