Ravens QB Lamar Jackson activated, set to play vs. Cowboys; three starters still sidelined

JONAS SHAFFER
The Baltimore Sun (TNS)
Baltimore Ravens' Lamar Jackson reacts as he walks off the field after winning an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Derik Hamilton)

Quarterback Lamar Jackson and fullback Patrick Ricard were among the four Ravens activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list Monday, clearing the way for them to return Tuesday night against the Dallas Cowboys.

Rookie defensive tackle Justin Madubuike and long snapper Morgan Cox were also activated from the list, designated for players who’ve tested positive or been exposed to the virus as a “high-risk” close contact.

Jackson’s return is the most consequential for an offense that struggled mightily in the Ravens’ loss Wednesday to the Pittsburgh Steelers, the team’s third straight defeat overall. Backup quarterback Robert Griffin III, now on the injured reserve, and third-stringer Trace McSorley combined to go 8-for-19 for 110 yards, a touchdown and an interception against Pittsburgh.

Jackson tested positive for COVID-19 on Thanksgiving Day and completed his 10-day self-quarantine Saturday. While he’s struggled to recapture his form from last season, when he was named the NFL’s Most Valuable Player, offensive coordinator Greg Roman said Saturday that Jackson had been “fully engaged” in the team’s virtual meetings. He practiced Sunday and participated in the team’s walk-through Monday.

“He’s really [in] lockstep, each and every step through,” Roman said Saturday. “The only thing he can’t do is, obviously, be here at the facility and actually take part in it. But, mentally, he’s right on it.”

The Ravens’ three other activations should prove helpful, too. Ricard’s presence will be critical against a Cowboys run defense that’s among the NFL’s worst. Madubuike has flashed his potential, and he’ll provide important depth, especially with starting linemen Brandon Williams (ankle) and Calais Campbell (calf) questionable. And Cox will return to the Ravens’ special teams “Wolfpack” one week after practice squad long snapper Nick Moore filled in.

Jackson will not have Pro Bowl tight end Mark Andrews or slot receiver Willie Snead IV available, however. Both are still self-quarantining after testing positive for COVID-19, though they’re expected to return in time for the Ravens’ game next Monday against the Cleveland Browns. Pro Bowl outside linebacker Matthew Judon is also set to be back by Week 14.

Safety Geno Stone, practice squad offensive lineman Will Holden and injured cornerback Terrell Bonds are also still on the reserve/COVID-19 list. The Ravens had as many as 23 players on the list during an outbreak that forced a Week 12 game against the Steelers to be postponed three times. In a statement Saturday, team president Dick Cass said a “highly contagious” strain of COVID-19 and noncompliance with NFL protocols led to one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks in sports.