Jackson is set to start on Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 11, which could sound the death knell for quarterback Joe Flacco’s tenure in Baltimore. Jackson’s success, however, could save Harbaugh’s job.
The Ravens and Harbaugh intend to part ways at the end of the 2018 season, as the coach’s contract expires at that time, according to CBS Sports. The Ravens will not fire Harbaugh during the season. If the decision to part ways is “mutual,” as reported, then perhaps Jackson can change the minds of both parties.
A big win on Sunday could bring hope to Harbaugh and the Ravens organization that he is still the best man for the job. A playoff berth would almost ensure that Harbaugh keeps his job. The Ravens would want to keep him. It wouldn’t make sense to remove Harbaugh (95–66) if Jackson and the Ravens are thriving.
There’s also a chance Harbaugh doesn’t want to stay with the Ravens. But if Jackson proves to be an elite playmaker, why would Harbaugh want to leave? Harbaugh would probably be a top option for coaching jobs — he won a Super Bowl, after all — but he probably wouldn’t be the top option. Far from it. The Ravens might be the best team he can get, especially if Jackson shows promise as a passer.
It’s easy to imagine Jackson, the 2017 Heisman Trophy winner, leading the Ravens into the playoffs and convincing Harbaugh to stick around. And it’s definitely easy seeing Jackson torching the Bengals this weekend, as Cincinatti is averaging the second most points allowed and most yards allowed in the NFL. If Harbaugh can prove influential in the development of Jackson, perhaps Baltimore will have no choice but to keep Harbaugh.