The Ravens have taken full advantage of their bye week during the wild-card round of the playoffs. Head coach John Harbaugh said he was “pretty optimistic about everybody” this week and that includes TE Mark Andrews, who’s been out since Week 11.
“I think today was his best showing so far. He really took a big step,” Harbaugh told reporters. “So that’s encouraging. We just have to see how it goes.”
Andrews was placed on injured reserve after suffering a cracked fibula and an ankle ligament injury in Baltimore’s Week 11 win over the Bengals. But he was designated to return to practice last Friday.
The three-time Pro Bowler only worked individually at the end of last week but that’s certainly a step in the right direction if he hopes to play in the Ravens’ divisional-round matchup against the Texans on Saturday.
The team could surely use the All-Pro tight end who totaled 45 catches for 544 yards and six touchdowns in 10 games this year.
Houston has been red hot with NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year favorite QB C.J. Stroud leading the way. Last weekend, he threw for 274 yards and three touchdowns in the Texans win against the Browns, who allowed the fewest passing yards per game (164.7) in the league this season.
Baltimore’s defense has also been stout, allowing the fewest points per game (16.5). However, no defense feels safe against Stroud at this point.
If the game turns into a shootout, Andrews could play a big role, if available. QB Lamar Jackson is surely hoping he is.
“It’s great to see. One of our main guys back,” Jackson said. “We just need him to keep preparing and keep getting better one day at a time. We’re waiting on him.”
Only time will tell if Jackson gets back arguably his favorite target this week. But it would surely be a boost to his confidence as he is 1-3 in his playoff career thus far.