Thu, 17 Jan 2019
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NFL Notebook: Ravens pick QB Jackson over Flacco

Sports Xchange
13 Dec 2018, 10:16 GMT+10

Baltimore Ravens rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson will be under center for Sunday's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, coach John Harbaugh announced on Wednesday.

The decision relegates a now-healthy Joe Flacco to the role of a backup. The 33-year-old Flacco, who led the Ravens to the Super Bowl XLVII title, has been nursing a hip injury for the past four weeks.

"Every decision is based on what makes us the strongest possible team we can be," Harbaugh said. "That's what it boils down to. That's how we feel about this decision and we're rolling."

The Ravens (7-6) are a half-game behind the AFC North-leading Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5-1), who have lost three games in a row. Jackson won his first three starts before dropping his first decision, a 27-24 overtime loss to the Kansas City Chiefs last Sunday.

The former Heisman Trophy winner from Louisville has rushed for 336 yards during the four-start stretch, although he has completed only 59 of 101 passes for 687 yards with four touchdowns and three interceptions.

"I didn't really have a reaction to when he was telling me," Jackson said of being named a starter. "I just know I have to focus on everything a lot more to better myself."

Flacco admitted that he wasn't surprised by Harbaugh's decision.

"My overall thought about is obviously disappointed that I can't be part of this team in the same capacity I have been for a long time," Flacco said. "You always have to be ready, and stay sharp, and be ready to get the call at any point."

--Carson Wentz did not practice due to a back injury that has raised concerns about the availability of the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback for the rest of the season. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported that Wentz is not expected to play for the Eagles (6-7) on Sunday (8:20 p.m. ET) against the host Los Angeles Rams (11-2).

Given the time of the injury, Wentz -- who is considered the face of the franchise -- could be sidelined for the remainder of the season with Philadelphia residing two games behind the NFC East-leading Dallas Cowboys (8-5) with three games to play.

"We're going to focus on today, get through today, and see where he is at the end of the day," Eagles coach Doug Pederson said when asked if there's a chance Wentz misses Sunday's game.

Wentz was listed on the injury report with back soreness during Weeks 7 and 8, but Pederson said the 25-year-old did not add to the issue during Sunday's 29-23 overtime loss to the Dallas Cowboys.

--Quarterback Ryan Tannehill of the Miami Dolphins practiced on a limited basis despite a right ankle injury, but is expected to play on Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings. Tannehill was injured in the final minutes of last Sunday's last-play victory over the New England Patriots.

Despite having his right ankle heavily taped, Tannehill was able to throw the ball and hand the ball off to his running backs during the practice. Coach Adam Gase said Tannehill "moved around well," and will play at Minnesota "unless something crazy happens," according to the Miami Herald.

However, reserve quarterbacks Brock Osweiler and David Fales also took a considerable number of snaps during the practice to be prepared if Tannehill can't play on Sunday against the Vikings (6-6-1).

The Dolphins (7-6) have won two of their last three games since Tannehill returned to the lineup after missing five games because of a right shoulder injury. With three games left, Miami is tied with three teams for the final AFC wild-card playoff spot.

--Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. of the New York Giants, who missed last week's 40-16 victory over the Washington Redskins because of quad injury, did not practice and remains a question mark for Sunday's game against the Tennessee Titans.

Head coach Pat Shurmur said Beckham is progressing and that the Giants are anxious to get their star receiver back onto the field, but that they won't rush him. And Shurmur made it clear that he wants reporters to get their updates from him, and not from Beckham.

"We'll try to get him back as quickly as possible," Shurmur said on a conference call with Tennessee reporters. "He is feeling better each day. I don't think he is going to practice today, but we'll see as the week progresses.

... And I encourage our players not to talk about their injuries, so hopefully that's about all you'll get out of it."

Beckham, who was ruled out of the Redskins game late last week due to the quad injury after showing up on the injury list on Friday, was seen stretching during the portion of Wednesday's practice that was open to the media.

--Running back Melvin Gordon, who has missed the last two games because of a knee injury, might be able to play when the Los Angeles Chargers visit the Kansas City Chiefs in a key AFC West game on Thursday night.

The Chargers (10-3) officially listed Gordon as questionable on Wednesday's injury report, meaning he has a 50-50 chance of playing against the Chiefs (11-2) with the division lead on the line.

"I'm hopeful," Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn said. "I mean, he's one of our better players. I'd like for him to play. We're trying to win every game we can to get into the playoffs -- but if he's not ready, he's not going to play."

Gordon, who sustained the injury in Week 12 against the Arizona Cardinals, was a limited participant in practice on Tuesday, but made the trip with his teammates to Kansas City and is expected to be a game-time decision.

--The NFL announced the five teams that have been designated as the home representatives in the league's international games next season. The NFL will play four games in London -- with two at Wembley Stadium and two at the new stadium being built for Premier League team Tottenham -- and one in Mexico City in 2019.

While dates, times and teams designated as the road clubs won't be revealed until the spring, the league announced that the Jacksonville Jaguars, Los Angeles Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Oakland Raiders and Los Angeles Chargers as hosts. The Jaguars have competed in London in every season since 2013.

The league is returning to Mexico City after this season's scheduled Kansas City Chiefs-Rams game in Week 11 was relocated to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum after the playing field at Estadio Azteca did not meet NFL standards. The NFL has played at least one regular-season game in London every year since 2007. All but three of the contests in England have been played at Wembley Stadium, with Twickenham Stadium hosting the others in 2016 and 2017.

--The Green Bay Packers placed offensive tackle Byron Bell on injured reserve, the team announced. Guard Nico Siragusa was signed off the practice squad in a corresponding move.

Bell made nine starts and 12 appearances this season before sustaining a knee injury in Green Bay's 20-17 setback to the Arizona Cardinals on Dec. 2.

The 29-year-old Bell, who is listed at 6-foot-5 and 320 pounds, was one of three starters to sit out Sunday's 34-20 victory against the Atlanta Falcons. He was replaced by Justin McCray.

"Byron's made a real valuable contribution, but Justin, as a coach, when you go to bed at night, you think about the faith you have in your guys and this guy is a competitor and you appreciate that," interim head coach Joe Philbin said.

--Kickers Kai Forbath and Matt McCrane will work out with the Pittsburgh Steelers, the NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported. The expected workouts come on the heels of coach Mike Tomlin telling reporters on Tuesday that the Steelers (7-5-1) are "willing to explore options" after kicker Chris Boswell misfired on two field-goal attempts in Sunday's 24-21 loss to the Oakland Raiders.

Boswell is 10 of 16 on field-goal attempts this season and has missed five extra points for Pittsburgh, which will bid to snap a three-game skid on Sunday (4:25 p.m. ET) against the New England Patriots (9-4).

Forbath was released by the Minnesota Vikings in August in favor of Daniel Carlson, although the rookie was cut a few weeks later after missing three field-goal attempts -- including two in overtime -- in a 29-29 tie with the Green Bay Packers. Carlson now kicks for the Raiders. Forbath made 32 of 38 field-goal attempts and 34 of 39 extra-point tries last season.

--Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry was selected AFC Offensive Player of the Week after rushing for 238 yards and four touchdowns in Tennessee's 30-9 triumph over the Jacksonville Jaguars, and Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper was named NFC Offensive Player of the Week after making 10 catches for 217 yards and three touchdowns in a 29-23 overtime win over the Philadelphia Eagles.

Indianapolis Colts defensive tackle Denico Autry earned AFC Defensive Player of the Week laurels after posting two sacks and four tackles in Sunday's 24-21 victory over the Houston Texans, and Detroit Lions cornerback Darius Slay was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week after returning an interception 67 yards for a touchdown in Sunday's 17-9 triumph over the Arizona Cardinals.

Los Angeles Chargers kicker Michael Badgley received AFC Special Teams Player of the Week after booting four field goals -- including a franchise-best 59-yarder -- in Sunday's 26-21 win over the Cincinnati Bengals. He also made field goals from 45, 32 and 31 yards out.

Taysom Hill of the New Orleans Saints earned NFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors after blocking a punt during Sunday's 28-14 victory versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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