Ravens QB Tyler Huntley resumes throwing with Lamar Jackson absent; LB Roquan Smith earns another honor


Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson’s absence extended into Thursday, but there was some encouraging news with quarterback Tyler Huntley resuming throwing and running back Gus Edwards returning to practice.

With the Ravens poised to meet the Cincinnati Bengals in Sunday night’s AFC wild-card playoff round, it’s looking increasingly likely that they will be without their starting quarterback, who sat out his 17th consecutive practice.

Jackson has not made an appearance since suffering an injury to the posterior collateral ligament in his left knee on the final play in the first quarter of an eventual 10-9 win against the Denver Broncos on Dec. 4. He’s missed the past five games.

Huntley, Jackson’s backup, was limited for the second straight day, but unlike Wednesday, he threw and was active during drills. Tendonitis in his right throwing shoulder and issues with his right wrist had limited him in last week’s practices and during Wednesday’s session, and those ailments played a factor in the team’s decision to keep him out of Sunday’s 27-16 loss in Cincinnati and instead turn to undrafted rookie Anthony Brown.

In his first career start, Brown completed 19 of 44 passes for 286 yards, but was sacked four times, intercepted twice, and lost a fumble that defensive end Joseph Ossai recovered in the end zone to give the Bengals an insurmountable 24-7 advantage just before halftime.

Edwards practiced on a limited basis Thursday after being held out of Wednesday’s session. He was removed from Sunday’s game after carrying the ball on the final play of the first quarter and did not return after being placed in the league’s concussion protocol.

On Thursday, he wore a red non-contact jersey and a Guardian cap on his helmet. He declined to comment after practice, saying he still has not been cleared from the protocol.

Cornerback Brandon Stephens (illness) and long-snapper Nick Moore (illness) were absent Thursday after missing Wednesday’s session. Joining their absence was interior offensive lineman Trystan Colon. Wide receiver Tylan Wallace was limited by a hamstring ailment.

Starting cornerbacks Marlon Humphrey (shoulder) and Marcus Peters (calf) participated Thursday after being limited Wednesday. Peters sat out the final three games of the regular season.

Five starters — outside linebackers Justin Houston and Jason Pierre-Paul, defensive end Calais Campbell, left guard Ben Powers and left tackle Ronnie Stanley — returned Thursday and did not appear on the injury report after getting rest days on Wednesday.

Banner week for Roquan Smith

This has been quite the week for Roquan Smith.

On Tuesday, the inside linebacker agreed to a contract extension with the Ravens worth a reported $100 million over five years. On Wednesday, Smith, who was acquired on Oct. 31 from the Chicago Bears for inside linebacker A.J. Klein and second- and fifth-round picks in the 2023 NFL draft, was named the team’s Most Valuable Player by local media despite playing in only nine games.

On Thursday, Smith was announced by the NFL as the AFC’s Defensive Player of the Month for December.

In four games in December and two in January, the 25-year-old racked up 66 tackles (including six tackles for loss), one sack, one interception and two pass deflections. Smith has amassed 169 tackles, 4 1/2 sacks and three interceptions this season and was voted to his first Pro Bowl last month.

Defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald commented Thursday on Smith’s extension, quipping that Smith’s continued relationship with the defense helped him get “a lot smarter.”

“I’m obviously happy for him, proud of him, how he’s come in and his relationship with the guys, with the rest of the coaches, everybody in the building,” he said. “It’s a big blessing to be able know we’re going to have him here for the long haul and we expect big things out of him [and] it’s going to be a fun journey that we’ll hopefully have together for a long time.”

Justice Hill not satisfied

Justice Hill’s 56-yard kick return in a 16-13 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Jan. 1 was one of the Ravens’ few highlights in that game. That was of little consolation to Hill.

“I wish it was a touchdown,” he said. “It needs to be 100 yards. I just envision that. Every time I get a ball that I can return, I’m envisioning the end zone. Every opportunity I get, I’m trying to get into the end zone. Anything short is still kind of like a failure. Even though it can be a big play, you still want to get into the end zone.”

High standards aside, Hill has filled in admirably for Devin Duvernay, a two-time Pro Bowl return specialist who was placed on injured reserve on Dec. 20 with a foot injury. Hill’s 24.7-yard average on kick returns is slightly less than Duvernay’s 25.5-yard average this season, but Duvernay did return a kick 103 yards for a touchdown in a 42-38 loss to the Miami Dolphins on Sept. 18.

Special teams coordinator Chris Horton said Hill has grown into the role.

“He comes out here, he practices,” Horton said. “We’ve worked him out back when he first got here. We had him back there, and so again, I think whoever we put back there, we feel pretty good about those guys. He has all the skill that we need in order to hit big returns.”



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