Photo Courtesy: USA Today

Harbaugh: Injured Flacco “Does Not Have to Practice to Play” Against Bengals

November 13, 2018 - 1:07 pm

John Harbaugh may very well know the extent of Joe Flacco’s hip injury but the Baltimore Ravens head coach shed little light on his quarterback’s status for a Week 11 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Harbaugh took the podium on Monday afternoon and confirmed that Flacco sustained the injury on the first few plays in the team’s 23-16 loss against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Reports surfaced over the bye week, casting doubt on Flacco’s availability.

When asked about the quarterback situation, Harbaugh didn’t rule out Flacco, even if the veteran QB doesn’t practice this week.

“We don’t know. I don’t know who’s going to play. We’ll prepare all the guys to whatever degree we think we need to, in terms of what the plan is,” Harbaugh said. “The plan will be ours; we have a plan [for] any direction that we decide to go or are forced to go. It’ll be based on the health of Joe [Flacco]. If Joe can play, he’ll play. He’s rehabbing to play. Joe does not have to practice to play. He’s practiced the whole season; he’s practiced for 11 years. But he might practice. So, we’ll just have to see how it goes. It’s up in the air; we’re not worried about it. We’re blessed with a good quarterback room, and that’s a good thing, that’s a positive thing. I’m really happy about that. We have guys that can play – three guys that can play. We have a good football team, and it’s just like any other position in my mind. You go with the next guy, and you roll and go win the football game.”

Flacco’s been as durable as they come at the quarterback position. Now in his 11th year, he’s has missed just six games, which came after suffering a knee injury late in the 2015 season.

Longtime teammate Marshal Yanda confirmed that notion  

“Obviously, I’ve been in a lot of games with him, but he’s one of the toughest guys that you know – that I’ve played with. Maybe the toughest guy,” said Yanda, who's been Flacco's teammate since 2008. “You never see him get injured. I mean, you never see him limping around. You never see him on the field showing any signs of weakness. He’s just been a rock for us for more than a decade. I’ve been fortunate, and just it’s awesome to play with a guy like that. I have nothing but respect for him. I love the guy.”

This is a player that, when healthy, has been out on the field. Harbaugh added that Flacco “went through a lot of stuff in practice,” but didn’t specify further. Through nine games this season, Flacco has thrown for 2,465 yards, 12 touchdowns and 6 interceptions.

He ranks among the league leaders in pass attempts for a passing attack that started out strong but has cooled off in recent weeks.

If Flacco is unable to play, the Ravens have an eager rookie quarterback waiting to take the field in Lamar Jackson. It just so happens that team could potentially move on from Harbaugh and Flacco after the season if the Ravens miss out on the playoffs - providing a timely change of guard.

But for now, at 4-5, a path to the playoffs still exists in a mediocre AFC conference. And whoever starts on Sunday afternoon will be playing in one of the most crucial games of the season.