OWINGS MILLS, Md. Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson has proven to be extremely tenacious despite taking more hits than any other quarterback. It is the repeated struggles with illness that have given him the most problems.
Jackson missed training on Thursday, marking the fourth time this season that he has been out of the game because he has been ill.
The Raven’s offensive coordinator Greg Roman said Thursday that he did not have a complete update on Jackson’s status.
“I think he’s better,” Roman said.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Wednesday that Jackson’s illness is not COVID-related. The AFC North-leading Ravens (6-3) play the Chicago Bears (3-6) on Sunday.
Jackson has held strong throughout his four-year NFL career despite taking 668 hits (115 more than any other quarterback) since taking over as the Ravens starter midway through the 2018 season. He has only missed two games, sitting out in the 2019 season finale because Baltimore had already secured the No. 1 seed and then was kept out of a week 12 game last season after testing positive for COVID-19.
But it has been a challenge to stay on the training ground for Jackson. He has missed a total of six workouts in the first 11 weeks of this season and only two of those absences were due to injury (sore back).
Without Jackson, backup quarterback Tyler Huntley has run the first-team offense.
Jackson is in the middle of another MVP-like season. He is number eight in the NFL in passing (2,447 yards) and seventh in rushing (639).
Not having Jackson for consecutive drills just increases the challenge with a Ravens offense that wants to get back on track. In Baltimore’s final game (a 22-10 loss to Miami on Nov. 11), Jackson put an end to his impressive scoring streak – 45 moves in regular season starts with at least 14 points. It was the longest such series to start a career since 1950, according to Elias Sports Bureau.
Ravens center Bradley Bozeman, who returned Thursday after missing a day with an illness, is not worried about the rhythm of the offense as Jackson is unable to practice.
“I do not really think it’s such a big deal,” Raven’s center Bradley Bozeman said of Jackson’s absence. “I know Lamar does his things at home that he has to do. He watches plays. He gets everything right at home. When he comes back, he’s not going to miss a step. Week in and week out he’s been by building on it and going up to the plate when he needs it. I do not see that as a problem. “
Two of Jackson’s best wide receivers – Marquise Brown (thigh) and Rashod Bateman (undisclosed) – also did not train on Thursday. This is the second day in a row that Brown did not train.