As the Baltimore Ravens prepare to play the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, they may be down to their No. 3 quarterback come Sunday.
Coming off a bye and heading into a virtual must-win game against the division rival Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said Joe Flacco (right hip) doesn’t have to practice in order to play. If Flacco can’t go, rookie first-round pick Lamar Jackson would be in line to start. But Jackson missed practice on Thursday due to a stomach ailment, which has cast his availability for Sunday into doubt.
Flacco also missed practice on Thursday, which is not surprising. So did the Ravens even have an active roster quarterback at practice?
Then answer is yes, and it was Robert Griffin III. After being out of the league last season, he signed with the Ravens and has yet to be active for a game this season. Since news of Flacco’s hip issue surfaced last week, multiple reports have suggested Griffin is a candidate to start over Jackson.
Griffin’s last appearance in a game was the 2016 season finale for the Cleveland Browns. In five games for the Browns that season, he completed just over 59 percent of his passes for 886 yards with four total touchdowns (two rushing) and three interceptions. Sunday’s game could become something of a showcase opportunity for Griffin against Cincinnati’s 32nd-ranked defense.
A stomach issue three days out doesn’t seem like something that would keep someone out of a game. But Jackson needs practice reps with the starters in case he has to step in for Flacco, and missing a day isn’t ideal. Griffin had all those reps to himself on Thursday.
Jackson is the exciting, former Heisman-winning first-round pick that everyone wants to see on the field. But the range of outcomes seems greater with Griffin, and teams looking for some sort of solution under center in 2019 will be curious to see him.
The Ravens will try to end a three-game losing streak and get to .500 on Sunday against a reeling Bengals’ squad. They could have a gimpy, already immobile Flacco or an inexperienced but talented Jackson under center. But the third, most interesting, possibility might be the unearthing of RG III, and that grew a little more likely with Thursday’s news.