After aggravating his back in late July, the Ravens quarterback opted for the safe route, missing all three of the team's preseason games to date. The cautious approach led to some uncertainty as to when Flacco would be ready to return and if he would miss regular season games.
Then came a stream of Flacco news this week. Coach John Harbaugh guaranteed Flacco would be ready for the Sept. 10 opener against Cincinnati on Monday. On Tuesday, he told reporters that Flacco was throwing again.
So ends the least dramatic of this season's starting quarterback injuries. While the Dolphins (Ryan Tannehill, torn ACL), Panthers (Cam Newton, shoulder surgery) and especially Colts (Andrew Luck, shoulder surgery) have had to navigate some murky waters, the Ravens took a month to churn their quarterback depth chart and force feed backup Ryan Mallett more reps in Flacco's absence.
There's no reason to give Flacco any field time in Thursday's preseason finale in New Orleans, though we should see him lead a first-string offense in practice soon. Harbaugh told reporters on Tuesday that they were still waiting for a practice clearance from the training staff. Based on Flacco's recent progress, that doesn't seem far off.