A hip injury has held Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco out of action since Week 9, but he has returned to the practice field this week and could be active for Sunday's game against the Kansas City Chiefs—as rookie Lamar Jackson's backup.
Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh discussed the matter with reporters Friday, via 105.7 The Fan's Kyle J. Andrews:
"Yeah, there's a scenario for that, sure," Harbaugh acknowledged.
Harbaugh noted that Flacco has yet to be cleared by team doctors:
At the time Flacco's injury flared up, the Ravens were heading into their Week 10 bye on a three-game losing streak, clinging to playoff hopes at 4-5. Jackson has brought the team back into contention by winning each of his first three starts.
Baltimore (7-5) is just a half-game back of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC North and currently holds the second wild-card spot in the AFC.
Harbaugh may ride the hot hand and let Jackson take on the AFC-leading Chiefs (10-2). However, if the Ravens fall behind and need to move the ball through the air late, having Flacco available could be key.
Flacco has thrown for 2,465 yards, 12 touchdowns and six interceptions in nine games this season. The 2012 Super Bowl MVP had a six-year run of 3,600-plus yards from 2009 to 2014 and topped 4,000 yards in 2016.
Jackson, meanwhile, is dangerous as a dual-threat quarterback. The rookie has helped the Ravens win their last three games in large part thanks to his legs, piling up 265 yards and two scores on the ground. He has completed 60 percent of his passes in three starts, averaging just 151 yards through the air.
Jackson's flaws as a quarterback had some wondering during the predraft process if the 2016 Heisman Trophy winner should change positions. Even though Baltimore views Jackson as a quarterback, Flacco may be better suited to lead a late-game comeback if the Ravens need points in a hurry.
Kansas City leads the NFL in scoring at 37 points per game. With NFL MVP candidate Patrick Mahomes under center, the Chiefs have been held under 30 points just twice this season and have put up an astounding 91 points over their last two games. In three Jackson starts, Baltimore is averaging 28 points per game.
Jackson has earned the right to stay in the starting lineup, but having Flacco at his disposal would give Harbaugh an option should the Ravens need a spark Sunday. But before the Ravens can activate Flacco, he must be cleared by the medical staff.