QB Jackson gets starting nod despite Flacco return

Washington (AFP) –


Rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson will remain at the helm of the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday even as veteran Joe Flacco returns from injury, the team said Wednesday.

Flacco, who missed four games with a hip injury, will be Jackson's backup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, coach John Harbaugh said.

"Joe is fully healthy, ready to go, he'll be a full participant in practice, he'll be up for the game," Harbaugh said of Flacco, the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player in the Ravens' championship triumph over the San Francisco 49ers in the 2012 season.

"But the starting quarterback will be Lamar. Joe will be the No. 2 quarterback and Robert Griffin will be the backup to those two guys."

Jackson has started each of the last four games, leading the Ravens to victory in three of them before a 27-24 away loss against the AFC's current leaders the Kansas City Chiefs.

While Flacco is a traditional pocket passer, Jackson is an accomplished runner, and the Ravens are averaging 228.5 rushing yards per game in his starts.

"Every decision is based on what makes us the strongest possible team we can be," Harbaugh said. "Whether it's quarterback or defensive line, that's the bottom line. That's what it boils down to. That's how we feel about this decision and we're rolling."