The Los Angeles head to Baltimore on Sunday to take on the AFC leading 9-3 Ravens. However, some unexpected news came today out of the Ravens camp, when it was reported that their superstar QB Lamar Jackson missed his first practice of the year with an illness, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken declined to talk about Jackson’s status ahead of the Rams Week 14 matchup, and his ability to play in the game is currently uncertain. The Ravens are already without a big part of their offense in TE Mark Andrews who is out with an ankle injury.
#Ravens QB Lamar Jackson, who was not spotted during the media portion of practice, is dealing with an illness.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 7, 2023
Jackson has started all 12 games this season for Baltimore, but has dealt with illness late in the season previously, missing a game in 2021 against the Chicago Bears due to the same reason. The QB has been dealing with an ankle issue this year, but has not missed any practice time due to the injury, so it is very interesting that this illness is keeping him out.
Jackson currently sits with 2,618 yards passing with 13 touchdowns and five interceptions. He also has attributed 574 yards on the ground as well, and is a potential MVP candidate this year. It would be a huge loss for Baltimore’s offense, and while you never want to wish illness or injury on any player, the fact of the matter is, it would be potentially an ever bigger gain for the Rams defense if Jackson is unable to play.
Baltimore’s backup Tyler Huntley has experience filling in for Jackson, and is actually a very serviceable quarterback in relief. In 2021, Huntley filled in for Jackson against the Rams, in what was a must-win game for Los Angeles at the time. Former Rams wide receiver, now Ravens wideout, Odell Beckham Jr, played a big part in the victory for LA, scoring a game-winning touchdown late in the contest.
This will be Beckham Jr.’s first matchup against LA since leaving the team post his 2021 Super Bowl run, where he tore his ACL in the championship game and missed all of the 2022 season. Beckham Jr had only good things to say about LA and head coach Sean McVay on Wednesday.
“It’s a special bond that I have with those guys over there — ‘Coop’ (Cooper Kupp), (Matthew) Stafford,” Beckham said, per the team transcript. “I still hit a little group chat. Talked a little trash with them this week. It’s just all love and respect. McVay’s been … He kind of was the person who ... the whole situation and organization brought me back to loving and having joy for football and understanding true professionalism and being prepared. It was just a great experience for me, alongside winning a Super Bowl. Overall, it was one of the best things that’s happened in my life.”
The love was returned by McVay, who also had nothing but good things to say about his former player.
“Yeah, I keep in touch,” McVay said. “I love Odell. He sure means a lot to me. It was a blessing to be able to coach him, and he’s as fun a guy as there is. He’s so talented. He works hard. He’s a great teammate. The ways that he elevated our program and what he meant to our team. And then because you appreciate the person so much, I always root for him, except for this week. But he’s on the bad guys this week, so we’ll root for him after that.”
The Rams meet the Ravens for an early window matchup, and if LA hopes to keep pace in the NFC playoff race with the likes of the Packers, Vikings and Seahawks, a win in Baltimore could be a huge step in the right direction. Not having to face Lamar Jackson could potentially make that job a little bit easier.