John Harbaugh is more than happy the new third quarterback rule is in place for the 2023 season. The Baltimore Ravens head coach said his franchise had tried to get this rule in place by last year's playoffs.
The Ravens actually submitted a proposal to have an extra roster spot for a third quarterback active for the 2022 postseason. With Lamar Jackson's injury and the uncertainty about whether he would return, the rule would have been beneficial for Baltimore.
"... We actually put this rule proposal in," Harbaugh said. "(Ravens director of football research) Scott Cohen and (executive vice president) Ozzie Newsome worked on it during the season last year. We proposed it for the playoffs, and hey, you know what, hindsight is 20/20, right?
"But those guys actually thought of it before. You don't want to be in a situation now, with the way protocols are going, where a team is deprived of a quarterback. So, I think it's common sense. I applaud the league; I applaud the Competition Committee, the owners for voting it in, the league office for supporting it.
"I think it's a good move, and we'll just have to figure out our roster going forward with that rule in mind."
The Ravens had Jackson as an inactive due to a knee injury for their wild card loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. No. 2 quarterback Tyler Huntley didn't play in the final regular season game due to tendonitis in his throwing shoulder, but he started against the Bengals and played all 69 offensive snaps. Anthony Brown was the backup, but the Ravens only had two quarterbacks available for the game.
Baltimore had Brett Hundley on the practice squad, but chose not to promote him to the active roster for the wild card game. Whether Huntley could've played or not, the third quarterback rule would have allowed Hundley to be promoted as quarterback insurance (as he could have dressed for the game but didn't have to be used unless Huntley or Brown suffered an injury).
Of course, the rule doesn't apply to practice squad quarterbacks. All three quarterbacks have to be on the 53-man roster for the rule to be in effect. For 2023, the Ravens signed Josh Johnson to compete for a roster spot with Huntley and Brown (Baltimore has four quarterbacks with NFL experience).
"He's a veteran quarterback who we know," Harbaugh said of Johnson. "It's great having him back. He's going to be great for our room, our team. He'll compete for the second quarterback spot, and we'll see how it plays out."