- The Washington Times - Monday, December 23, 2019

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Baltimore Ravens have locked up everything they possibly can, so Lamar Jackson will take a breather this week.

The star quarterback and several other starters will sit in the Ravens‘ Week 17 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, coach John Harbaugh announced Monday.

Right guard Marshal Yanda, safety Earl Thomas and defensive lineman Brandon Williams won’t play, and running back Mark Ingram also will sit after suffering a “mild to moderate” calf strain Sunday against the Browns, Harbaugh said.

“He probably wouldn’t play this week no matter what the circumstance was with that calf strain,” Harbuagh said. “We’d be looking for him to be ready in two weeks, so we’ll see how that goes.”

Besides those five, Harbaugh said the team may decide as the week goes on to rest other players.

Former Redskin Robert Griffin III is expected to start at quarterback for Baltimore on Sunday, but Harbaugh said the possibility of playing both Griffin and third-string quarterback Trace McSorley is “on the table” as well.

It would be Griffin’s first start since the end of the 2016 season — Jan. 1, 2017 for the Browns.

“Certainly in (Griffin’s) case, it’s a big deal,” Harbaugh said. “He’s played already this year, which says a lot. Backup quarterbacks don’t always play unless there’s an injury. But he still played quite a bit, relatively speaking, and done a good job. So it’ll be a great opportunity for him, and I fully expect him to make the most of it and play a very good football game.”

The Ravens improved to 13-2 and clinched the No. 1 seed in the AFC with a win Sunday. Even if Baltimore lost in Week 17 and the 12-3 New England Patriots won, the Ravens still would own the No. 1 seed thanks to beating New England head-to-head earlier this year.

After Sunday’s game, Jackson said he wanted to play in Week 17.

“Yeah, no doubt,” he told reporters. “But it’s Coach’s decision.”

But with nothing to gain — and everything to lose, should Jackson suffer an injury — Harbaugh called resting Jackson and others a “straightforward” and “solid” move.

Harbaugh said he hadn’t personally told Jackson the news, but he was sure Jackson would be “completely on board” with the decision.

“He wants to play. I saw the press conference, and I appreciate it,” Harbaugh said. “But one thing about Lamar and all of our guys, they’ll be 100% behind the guys who are playing. And they’ll be doing everything they can do to get those guys prepared to play in this game and win the football game.”

The Ravens have been one of the most successful teams of this decade, but this is the first time they clinched the No. 1 playoff seed in franchise history.

Harbaugh noted that the Steelers, fighting for the final AFC wild card berth, have everything to play for when they come to Baltimore.

“Our intention will be, and our plan will be, all hands on deck to win the game,” Harbaugh said.

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