The Ravens emerged from the bye week with more questions than answers surrounding the team.
First, Jeff Zrebiec from The Athletic reported that Joe Flacco injured his hip against the Steelers and might not be able to play against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 11. As a result, Lamar Jackson could get his first career start, much to the delight of many fans.
Then, Jason La Canfora of CBS revealed that the Ravens and coach John Harbaugh will have a “mutual parting of ways” after the season.
The Ravens (4-5) likely won’t reveal any further details on either of these topics this week. The team is fully focused on getting the season back on track and doesn’t need the outside distractions.
Still, these questions will not go away until these situations are resolved.
While the Ravens did not play Sunday, they still managed to get a big break.
The New Orleans Saints demolished the Bengals 51-14 at Paul Brown Stadium. It was the type of demoralizing loss that could send Cincinnati into a downward spiral. The Ravens have an opportunity to make up some ground with a victory over their AFC North nemesis this week.
At this point, the Ravens’ only hope is to grab that second wild card spot. Baltimore currently sits behind the Bengals (5-4), Titans (5-4) and Dolphins (5-4) for the sixth postseason position.
Getting back into the hunt will surely be the focus for the Ravens this week. Still, they will inevitably face questions about the future.
There are already rumors/conspiracy theories that the Ravens created Flacco’s injury so as to not embarrass him as they begin the Jackson era sooner than later. That premise is completely absurd (the term “tin foil hat” has been thrown around to describe this theory), but that’s where we’re headed with this year’s team.
Harbaugh is determined to keep his players focused, and by all accounts, they respond to him. While the Ravens face an uphill battle for the playoffs, it’s not entirely impossible.
Much of their playoff hopes rest on this week’s game against a team suddenly in similar turmoil.
But even if the Ravens do manage to make a successful run in the final stretch of the season, it still might not be enough to stem the inevitable change within the franchise.
Eric DeCosta is set to take over for Ozzie Newsome as the full-time general manager after the season.
The Ravens have gone 44-45 since winning the Super Bowl in 2013. Owner Steve Bisciotti talked about making changes after the disappointing finish last season when the Ravens were knocked out of the playoffs on one of the final plays of the year against the Bengals.
Many fans contend the Ravens have become stagnant over their three-year playoff drought.
Well, the Ravens have become more interesting over the past week, but it’s not the type of intrigue most people were expecting.
Change is on the way.