Baltimore Ravens fans anxious to see Lamar Jackson return to action during Saturday’s preseason opener against the New Orleans Saints shouldn’t hold their breath. While head coach John Harbaugh hasn’t made a public decision yet, he doesn’t intend to leave his starting quarterback on the field for too long, if at all.
“We’ll sit down on Wednesday and kind of decide that,” Harbaugh told the Baltimore Sun on Tuesday. “It wouldn’t be more than about a series, if we do anything with him.”
In late July, Lamar Jackson tested positive for COVID-19, forcing him to spend 10 days away from team facilities. This is his second run-in with the coronavirus in less than a year; his first came in late November of 2020, which forced him to miss the Week 12 matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Jackson returned to practice earlier this week but acknowledges that the missed time has probably caused his preparation for the 2021 season to lag.
“I’m trying to catch up with my guys, because they’re on the train — like Coach [offensive coordinator Greg Roman] said — [and] I’m trying to catch the train,” said Jackson at a press conference on Monday.
Despite his multiple run-ins with the pandemic, Lamar Jackson has not received the vaccine and is still on the fence as to whether or not he will spring for one.
“I feel it’s a personal decision,” said Jackson. “I’m just going to worry about that with my family. I’m going to keep my feelings to my family and myself.”
This will undoubtedly result in more playing time for backups Trace McSorley and Tyler Huntley. Both quarterbacks have been in a neck-and-neck fight for the second-string quarterback spot, a battle that gained greater importance following Jackson’s positive test.
Harbaugh’s conservative approach with Jackson makes more sense considering that the Ravens have also had to deal with an injury to promising rookie wide receiver Rashod Bateman earlier this week. Bateman, who the Ravens selected in the first round of this year’s NFL Draft, suffered a leg injury after getting tangled with cornerback Marcus Peters during practice. It could be weeks before we see Bateman’s regular-season debut.
Due to the confluence of circumstances, Bateman has hardly gotten a chance to work with Jackson on the practice field, which could hinder their on-field chemistry whenever Bateman finally heals.
Whoever lines up behind center for the Ravens, the preseason kicks off on Saturday night at 7:00 p.m. You can watch the game locally on WBAL-TV 11.