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McSorley out with back injury, paving way for Huntley as Ravens backup QB

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OWINGS MILLS, Md. — One of the closest position battles of Ravens training camp has seemingly come to an end with Trace McSorley expected to miss the rest of the preseason with a back injury, paving the way for Tyler Huntley to win the primary backup quarterback behind Lamar Jackson.

Head coach John Harbaugh revealed after Saturday’s preseason game against New Orleans that McSorley was dealing with back spasms and tightness earlier in the day before completing 11 of 18 passes for 86 yards and an interception and rushing for 25 yards on four carries in the 17-14 win. The Ravens gained just 121 yards and failed to collect a first down on six of their eight drives with McSorley at the helm, but the offensive line struggled mightily to open running lanes and protect the pocket in the first half.

“He was picking up a box or something the day of the game,” Harbaugh said. “We said he had the back spasms, [but] it turned out to be something in his back. It’s an issue. He wrenched it in some way, so he’s going to be out for a few weeks with that situation.”

The McSorley news came after Huntley scored the game-winning touchdown on a 7-yard run with 6:35 remaining, completed 12 of 16 passes for 79 yards, and ran for 43 yards on seven attempts. The performance drew praise from Harbaugh and was perceived by many as an important step in Huntley’s quest to win the No. 2 job. While McSorley had probably performed more consistently over the first 2 1/2 weeks of training camp, Huntley has a stronger arm and the athletic upside that aligns more closely with Jackson’s transcendent skill set.

Huntley now has the clear edge in health with final cuts just over two weeks away. It’s unclear what McSorley’s injury will mean for his roster status as many were debating whether Baltimore would keep two or three quarterbacks on its 53-man roster. Should the Ravens not want to risk exposing the 2019 sixth-round pick from Penn State to waivers, they could place him on injured reserve for a minimum of the first three games of the season, but that would require keeping him on the initial 53-man roster and exposing another player in the process.

For now, the focus will be on giving Huntley all of the second-team reps after he’d been sharing them with McSorley.

“He just played excellent. He made plays with his arm, with his feet, and with his head,” said Harbaugh about Huntley’s showing against the Saints. “I thought he did an excellent job. He took a big step in that direction to be the backup quarterback, I thought. We’ll just see where it goes.”

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The Ravens re-signed Baltimore native and former Calvert Hall standout Kenji Bahar to have a third healthy quarterback in camp behind Jackson and Huntley.

Roster cuts begin

Required to trim their preseason roster from 90 to 85 players by 4 p.m. on Tuesday, the Ravens announced Monday afternoon that they waived cornerback Davontae Harris, outside linebacker Aaron Adeoye, and tight end Eli Wolf and placed cornerbacks Khalil Dorsey (shoulder) and Iman Marshall (knee) on IR.

Harris appeared in four games for Baltimore last season, but he was buried on the cornerback depth chart and saw his only real chance of making the team coming on special teams. Adeoye spent the last two seasons on the practice squad, but he struggled to set the edge in Saturday’s game, which led to a couple long Saints runs. Wolf spent last season on the practice squad and had seen his roster momentum slow after a solid spring.

Dorsey injured his shoulder in a one-on-one drill last Tuesday while Marshall was still dealing with the effects of his ACL injury sustained last summer and had only taken part in a handful of practices this summer. Players who aren’t part of the initial 53-man roster are ineligible to be designated to return later in the season.

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