Stephen A. Smith Raves About Tyler Huntley As Ravens Backup Preps To Face His Beloved Steelers

Videos by OutKick

Stephen A. Smith is a self-proclaimed lifelong Pittsburgh Steelers fan but the longtime ESPN analyst has a surprising take regarding the recent quarterback news.

On Friday, Ravens’ coach John Harbaugh announced backup signal caller Tyler Huntley will likely be taking the starting reins as Lamar Jackson continues to rehab from a knee injury, prompting a look back to an intriguing discussion between Smith and his ESPN colleagues about the Ravens hopeful playoff push.

The outspoken analyst joined ESPN’s First Take earlier this week along with Kimberly Martin and Chris “Mad Dog” Russo as rumors began swirling about the severity of Jackson’s injury and a potential timeline for his return.

Baltimore is sitting at 8-4 and Russo alluded to a late-season collapse in Baltimore without Jackson at the helm.

The full First Take clip can be viewed below:

“I think they are in huge trouble,” Russo exclaimed.

Smith took a much different stance. He broke down the remaining Ravens schedule — which includes four out of the final five opponents having records below .500.

And then came Smith’s bombshell, although at this point in his career folks have become used to wild and outrageous takes.

“That is a quarterback I wish the Pittsburgh Steelers had,” Smith exclaimed.

Ironic considering Smith has praised Steelers’ rookie Kenny Pickett’s development as of late, but this is his style so it’s not too surprising.

Tyler Huntley during a game last season while filling in for Lamar Jackson (photo credit: Getty images)

“I like Huntley,” Smith continued. “This brother can play. I understand that he’s a backup, but watch him play. And don’t go by the record; go by what you see on the football field. He makes plays. He can be a difference-maker. Put him around the right people, he can make some things happen. This brother is not a scrub. He can play.”

Although the ESPN talking head often spews off takes to drum up attention, there could be some validation here.

Tyler Huntley has proven himself when called

The Utah product — who earned First-team All-Pac 12 honors signed as a free agent following the 2020 NFL Draft.

When Jackson went down with a significant injury last season, Huntley was thrown into the fire — and while he wasn’t perfect — he produced at a high level, making a name for himself with talent evaluators around the NFL.

During the 2021 campaign, the former Utah star saw action in seven games with four starts. He completed 64.9% of his passes for 1,081 yards, three touchdowns and four interceptions but like Jackson, showed his versatility with 47 carries for 249 yards and two scores.

The Ravens likely won’t be asking their backup to run a full playbook, but Huntley has proven capable of doing the job.

With game on the line last week, Huntley delivered

Last week was a prime example.

Tyler Huntley leads the Ravens to a victory over Denver in the final minute last week

Jackson suffered the knee injury at the start of the second quarter vs. Denver last week and Huntley wasn’t perfect, but he flashed at times and did enough to pull off the win.

The backup completed 27 of 32 passes for 187 yards with no touchdowns and one interception. He also rushed 10 times for 41 yards and the game-winning score.

There are mixed reports about when Jackson will be healthy enough to return, but the schedule is favorable to Huntley managing the offense, making a play here or there while relying on a defense that’s found its groove as of late.

Smith will surely have some strong takes if Huntley and company pull off the dub.

Written by Sean Labar

Lifelong die-hard DC fan (all four teams). College football and the NFL are my biggest passions but I love writing & discussing all sports. Live in Virginia with my two rescue pups Wally & Reagan. Follow me on Twitter @SeanLabarPR

Leave a Reply