Joe Flacco is recovering nicely from the concussion he received last week, and Ravens coach John Harbaugh says “there’s a good chance” the quarterback will play Sunday at Tennessee.
Flacco sustained a concussion and a gash that required stitches after absorbing a late, high hit from Miami linebacker Kiko Alonso in Baltimore’s 40-0 victory Thursday night. Flacco was on the ground at the end of a protective slide when Alonso slammed into him.
The second-quarter tackle caused Flacco to lose his helmet and left him dazed. He was subsequently escorted to the locker room and did not return.
Harbaugh said Monday that “symptoms are zero” for Flacco. But he will remain on concussion protocol at least until Baltimore (4-4) resumes practice on Wednesday, and maybe longer.
If Flacco is cleared by Sunday, however, he will start against the Titans (4-3).
“If he’s ready, he’s playing,” Harbaugh said.
Asked if he expected Flacco to play, the coach responded: “Sure, absolutely. I think there’s a good chance he’ll play.”
The recovery process has not kept Flacco from showing up at the team’s training complex, even though the Ravens were given the weekend off.
“He’s been here every day, doing what he’s supposed to do,” Harbaugh said.
The NFL has not levied punishment for the hit by Alonso, who insisted that he made the tackle because he was unsure if Flacco was going to slide . By the time Flacco decided to conclude the 9-yard scramble by hitting the turf on his own, Alonso was on his way.
“There’s a technique to teach those guys coming in there, and we teach our guys that,” Harbaugh said. “We try to do the best with it, but the responsibility’s on the defender, clearly.”
After Flacco left, Ryan Mallett threw a touchdown pass for a 20-0 lead, then managed the game efficiently the rest of the way. He will start Sunday if Flacco cannot.
“Ryan’s definitely a drop-back-thrower type of a guy, a student of the game, always prepared, always studies it and knows the game plan inside and out,” Harbaugh said.
“He was ready to go Thursday night. Didn’t skip a beat as far as the different operational things he had to do — the run checks, the pass checks, the protections.”
The Ravens, however, would much prefer using Flacco in their final game before a bye. Prior to the injury, he was 10 for 15 for 101 yards and a touchdown.
Playing on Thursday night provided Flacco a few extra days to recover and gave the Ravens a chance to rest before starting the second half of their schedule.
“The downside and upside of Thursday night games are, it’s a quick turnaround. The upside is the fact that you have 10 days to get ready for the next game and heal up a little bit,” Harbaugh said.
“So for our team, this is good. This is positive, and we want to take advantage of it.”