On Friday, head coach John Harbaugh announced that rookie quarterback, Lamar Jackson would start for the second consecutive week. Lamar Jackson is filling in for Joe Flacco. Flacco is dealing with a hip injury that has kept him out of practice for three weeks. Head coach John Harbaugh stated last week that Flacco did not need to practice to play. But since Flacco has missed a considerable amount of time, Harbaugh has backtracked on the idea. He stated that the Ravens are now at a point where he would need Flacco to practice to play. For most NFL teams, the absence of a starting quarterback would break the team, but the Ravens are in a unique position to a dynamic, young quarterback, as the reliever.
Lamar Jackson played well against the Cincinnati Bengals in his first career start. His best moments came on the ground, as the former Heisman Trophy winner ran the ball 26 times for 119 yards. Jackson also managed the game through the air. He was not a prolific passer but accomplished what he needed to in order to win. The Ravens confined Jackson to a short distance passing strategy. Most of his passes flew in the middle of the field, for short gains, often aided by additional gains by running wide receivers. Jackson finished 13/19 for 150 yards and one interception. His longest pass was 23 yards.
In his second start, Lamar Jackson will have the benefit of facing another poor defense. The Cincinnati Bengals had the lowest ranked defense overall and against the run. The 2-8 Oakland Raiders are not much better. Jon Gruden’s team is 26th in a 32 team league in total defense (yards allowed per game), and are the second worst defense in terms of rushing yards allowed. The Raiders give up, on average, 142.3 rushing yards per game. Lamar Jackson can continue to play how he wants, as the Raiders will have a difficult time stopping him on the ground.