The Baltimore Ravens narrowly overcame the Denver Broncos 10-9 in their latest game. The victory came at a price though, as Lamar Jackson suffered a knee injury in the first half. It ruled him out for most of the game, with Tyler Huntley taking over as the starter mid-series.
The injury came when Jackson was tackled by Jonathon Cooper. Cooper’s hit resulted in Jackson landing awkwardly on his knee. He was immediately pulled from the game and subsequently retreated to the locker room. He was able to make his own way there but was limping up the stairs.
John Harbaugh has said that the injury is not season-ending, citing it as “days to weeks” instead. Further testing will commence today.
Coach Harbaugh says it's not a season ending injury for Lamar Jackson. pic.twitter.com/Nf0ZoUyHIi
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) December 4, 2022
The knee injury is another ailment to add to Jackson’s list. Over the last few weeks, he has missed practices for illness, a hip injury, and a quad injury. The knee injury marks the fourth issue in as many weeks.
It remains to be seen whether Jackson misses time. If he does, the Ravens will roll with Huntley as their QB1. Thankfully for the Ravens, they have one of the most comfortable schedules to close out the season and their path to the playoffs is relatively smooth from here.
Jackson joins a long list of injuries to monitor in Baltimore. 2022 NFL Draft pick Kyle Hamilton was questionable heading into the Broncos game and got shaken up once. The team also had to pull Isaiah Likely after a big hit. He had previously been dealing with an ankle injury. Both players returned during the game though. Baltimore’s main injury worry concerns their left tackle position. Ronnie Stanley was inactive against the Broncos and backup Patrick Mekari left the game early. This is something to monitor going forwards.
Tyler Huntley Answers the Call After Lamar Jackson Injury
Although Jackson missed most of the game, Huntley did an admirable job stepping in. Jackson suffered the knee injury in the middle of a series. He was pulled late, and Huntley had very little time to warm up. Indeed, the backup had such little time that he had not even thrown a ball on the sideline. His first throw came on a long third down, where he found Devin Duvernay for a solid chunk (though not a first down).
It would be wrong to say that Huntley lit the Broncos up. The 10-9 scoreline says it all. He did, however, do enough to win. His two-yard touchdown run tied the game with less than 30 seconds left.
TYLER HUNTLEY GIVES BALTIMORE THE LEAD! pic.twitter.com/CrTMB0e95l
— PFF BAL Ravens (@PFF_Ravens) December 4, 2022
After Huntley entered the game, the Ravens seemed to find more rhythm. They got to the line of scrimmage earlier and everything seemed controlled. It was not an electric performance but that is to be expected against one of the top defenses in the NFL.
If Jackson misses time, the Ravens will be more than comfortable rolling with Huntley for a few weeks. He is widely considered to be one of the best backup quarterbacks in the league and has started for Baltimore in a pinch before.
When Huntley plays, the Ravens move to a more pass-heavy scheme to play to Huntley’s strengths. This was certainly the case when Huntley started multiple games for the Ravens in 2021. He built a very good rapport with Mark Andrews and so, provided Huntley is playing, expect Andrews to get more looks.
Jackson Proving Contract Anxieties
Lamar Jackson suffering this knee injury alongside his hip and quad injuries only provides fuel to his critics. The 2019 NFL MVP has been in a contract standoff with the Ravens front office for around a year now, and it seems that the team are reluctant to pay him too much because they are worried about long term injuries.
This has always been a concern with athletic quarterbacks, like Jackson, who take big hits. Injuries tend to shorten their career. In 2021, Jackson’s various injuries ultimately derailed any hopes of the playoffs for the team. This season, Jackson has managed to stay on the field despite his various injuries but his exit against the Broncos could be damaging.
It is believed that Jackson is expecting a big, fully guaranteed contract to give himself financial security if he suffers any long-term injuries. His injury history has been patchy, but the fear for the Ravens is that his health could deteriorate sooner rather than later. The team had originally offered Jackson a large contract packed with incentives, but Jackson is standing firm on the contract being fully guaranteed.
As it stands, it is rumoured that Jackson is “not happy” with the Ravens over the situation, but he has also previously said that he expects to be a Raven for the rest of his career. It seems that a solution between the two parties will come at some point, but it remains to be seen which party will succumb to the other’s demands. The knee injury against the Broncos, alongside the other ailments, could ultimately work against Jackson.