Ravens quarterback Tyler Huntley didn’t know he’d be playing in place of Lamar Jackson until this morning. Huntley found out about it directly from Lamar.
“When I was walking toward the bus, Lamar sent me a text,” Huntley told PFT by phone after the 16-13 win. “He was like, ‘Go do your thing.’ That’s how I found out I was playing today.”
Jackson couldn’t play due to an illness, even though he practiced on Friday. Huntley said he spent Saturday thinking he’d play.
“I just was preparing like I was going to play,” Huntley said. “That’s all I can do. I can prepare and be ready. If I wasn’t going to be prepared it would’ve been a different turnout in that game probably.”
Assisting the preparation was the fact that Huntley has gotten plenty of extra practice time this year, both during the season when Lamar was ill and had a back injury, and in the preseason when Lamar was on the COVID reserve list.
“That’s definitely a help,” Huntley said. “Just feeling the receivers, just feeling the line. It’s great that I had the opportunity to get those reps that I got.”
He got the opportunity despite not being drafted. How much does that drive him?
“It plays a great part of my motivation,” Huntley said. “I just feel like I owe it all to the Ravens because they gave me a chance and now I’m here.”
After the game, capped by a touchdown drive fueled by a 29-yard pass to Sammy Watkins — the third read on the play — that put the ball inside the five, Huntley heard directly from the man whose place he took.
“[Lamar] was the first one to congratulate me in the locker room,” Huntley said. “I’m walking through, he just said he loves me. That means everything that he can trust me to go out there and get a win while he’s sitting down.”
It’s smart for every team to have a backup who can be trusted to win a game or two. The Ravens have that with Huntley, and they’d better enjoy it while they can. If he plays like he did today when he gets chances to show what he can do, it’s just a matter of time before someone offers him a starting job elsewhere.