Uncertainty surrounding Baltimore Ravens

Harbaugh mum on future, Flacco's status

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Ravens coach John Harbaugh on Monday did not provide much clarity into his future with the franchise or the hip injury to Joe Flacco.

Instead, Harbaugh said the team emerged from the bye week fairly healthy and is entirely focused on beating the Cincinnati Bengals to keep its playoff hopes alive.

"We'll write the story of the Ravens' 2018 season by how we play in the next seven weeks," Harbaugh said at his Monday press conference. "That's what our guys are juiced up for. All the other stuff is just fluff; it's just noise; it's just banter. It's bar room talk."

Flacco sustained the hip injury he in the first quarter against Pittsburgh in Week 9. He was visibly hampered but played the entire game, completing 23 of 27 passes for 209 yards.

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There has been speculation that Flacco would not be available against the Bengals, opening the door for rookie Lamar Jackson to make his first career start.

Harbaugh was non-committal on who would be under center Sunday.

"We're not going to talk about any of that," Harbaugh said. "There's no reason for us to. I don't know who's going to play. We'll prepare all the guys to whatever degree we think we need to."

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Harbaugh also dismissed a report saying the he and the Ravens will have a "mutual parting of ways" after the season.

"That stuff doesn't matter. I mean, the report itself ... How do you even address stuff like that when there is so many layers to it that you know just aren't true?" Harbaugh said. "Again, it's just noise; it doesn't matter; it means nothing. It's not something that I'm going to think about or concern myself with."

The Ravens (4-5) need to go at least 5-2 the rest of the way to have a shot at the postseason. Baltimore currently sits behind the Bengals (5-4), Titans (5-4) and Dolphins (5-4) for the second wild card position.

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For now, Harbaugh expects his players to meet that daunting challenge.

"We're off the bye week now. I think they came back fired up, fresh, enthusiastic, ready to go to work and excited for the challenge at hand -- which is the Cincinnati Bengals," Harbaugh said. "It's our opportunity to get rolling here in the second half of the season. We're excited, we're fired up, we can't wait to get going, and that's where we're at."

--LT Ronnie Stanley (ankle) could return to practice this week after missing the previous game against the Steelers. He was the team's first round pick in 2017 from Notre Dame. Stanley has also dealt with foot and arm injuries this season but has only missed one game.

--RT James Hurst (back) has missed three consecutive games but could be available following the bye week. Hurst is a valuable lineman capable of playing multiple positions.

--LG Alex Lewis made his first start against Pittsburgh since suffering a pinched nerve in his neck against the Tennessee Titans on Oct. 14. He played 61 snaps. The extra rest could bode well for him moving forward.

--OL Orlando Brown Jr. has started three consecutive game for the injured James Hurst at right tackle. He has not allowed a sack or quarterback hit this season, according to Pro Football Focus. As a result, Brown could be a mainstay on the offensive line, regardless of Hurst's status. "I think he's wedged his way into that conversation," coach John Harbaugh said.

--RB Ty Montgomery, who was acquired from Green Bay on Oct. 30, could see his first action for the Ravens against the Bengals in Week 10. He was inactive the previous game against the Steelers. In seven games this season, he has 105 rushing yards and one touchdown on 26 carries. Montgomery also has 15 receptions for 170 yards. The 6-foot, 216-pounder also has experience as a kickoff returner, posting 794 yards on 35 returns (22.7 avg.) during his career.

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