It’s official in Baltimore, Lamar Jackson was named the teams starting quarterback Wednesday by head coach John Harbaugh. Jackson will start Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, despite the teams former starting quarterback Joe Flacco being healthy. Flacco who has been out for the last 4 weeks with a hip injury has fully recovered, but he will serve as back to Jackson.
When asked about the decision to start Jackson over Flacco, Harbaugh said “Every decision is based on what makes us the strongest possible team we can be. That’s what it boils down to, that’s how we feel about this decision and we’re rolling.”
Flacco, Baltimore’s starter since 2008, was named Super Bowl MVP in 2012, after he leading the Ravens to the franchise’s second Lombardi Trophy. He has 106 victories with the Ravens.
When asked about the decision Flacco said, “Obviously I’m disappointed that I can’t be part of this team in the same capacity I have been for a long time, I can’t say I was surprised.” This will be the first time in 163 games that he has not started.
In his 10 NFL seasons Flacco had never missed a start, it was said he wanted to play through his injury, but doctors warned he could further injure himself.
Even though this is a huge hit to the NFL veteran and future Hall of Famer he sounded optimistic about what lies ahead for him saying, “Listen, it’s out of my hands, I got hurt; they drafted Lamar in the first round. At some point, something was going to happen between the two of us. Who knows what that was going to be. This is just what it is at this point. I’ve obviously had five weeks to think about and prepare myself for this situation and the possibility of it. I’m going to do my best to handle it the right way.”
Jackson, 3-1 in Flacco’s absence has helped the Ravens get back in the playoff hunt, providing a spark and run-dominated offense to Baltimore’s overall identity.
When asked about his new position with the team and whether he felt as if it was his team now Jackson said, “I know I have to focus on everything a lot more, just bettering myself and trying to join with everyone around me a lot more. That’s about it. This is our team, all of us together, I don’t go out there and block. I don’t go out there and catch the ball. I don’t make tackles. I just do my part. It’s all our team.”
The Ravens are the No. 6 seed in the AFC and sit half a game back of the Steelers in the AFC North race.