The Baltimore Ravens are officially Lamar Jackson’s team.
Jackson was named the starting quarterback for Sunday’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Joe Flacco will serve as the backup, coach John Harbaugh announced Wednesday.
For four weeks, Jackson started because Flacco was dealing with a hip injury. Now, with Flacco fully recovered, the Ravens are sticking with Jackson because the team feels the rookie first-round pick gives Baltimore the best chance of winning and reaching the playoffs.
“Every decision is based on what makes us the strongest possible team we can be. … That’s what it boils down to,” Harbaugh said. “That’s how we feel about this decision and we’re rolling.”
Flacco, 33, has been Baltimore’s starter since being the No. 18 overall pick in the 2008 draft. He was named Super Bowl MVP in 2012 when he led the Ravens to the franchise’s second Lombardi Trophy. His 106 victories, including playoffs, rank fifth among quarterbacks since 2008, trailing Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger and Aaron Rodgers.
This marks the first time in Flacco’s 11-year career, which spans 163 games, that he will serve as a backup.
“Obviously [I’m] disappointed that I can’t be part of this team in the same capacity I have been for a long time,” Flacco said. “… I can’t say I was surprised.”
One of the most durable quarterbacks in NFL history, Flacco had not missed a game in nine of his previous 10 seasons. He injured his right hip on the opening drive of a Nov. 4 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers and finished the game.
Flacco, who is 4-5 as the starter this year, wanted to play through the injury, but doctors told him that he could injure himself further. He wasn’t cleared to play again until last week.
“Listen, it’s out of my hands,” Flacco said. “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.
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SOURCE: ESPN, Jamison Hensley