Lamar Jackson has faced questions before and after the NFL Draft about whether he has what it takes to be a successful quarterback at the NFL level, and he’s heard all that criticism.
So on Saturday night, when the Baltimore Ravens quarterback delivered an excellent performance against the Miami Dolphins, Jackson couldn’t resist making a point about what he’d done.
“I hope people know I can throw now, even though I had a low percentage,” Jackson told WBAL-TV, via Jamison Hensley of ESPN. “But it’s all good. We had fun and came out with a win.”
Jackson went 7-of-10 for 98 yards and a touchdown in the Ravens’ 27-10 win over Miami, a big improvement over his first three preseason games where he struggled with accuracy and completed just 41.9 percent of his passes.
It’s easy to forget that some teams reportedly wanted to look at Jackson as a wide receiver pre-draft, not a quarterback, a suggestion Jackson bristled at. He is determined to be a quarterback in the NFL, and the Ravens appear happy to try to see it through with him.
- Lamar Jackson
There is one thing the Baltimore Ravens would like rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson to be a little more wary of when on the field.
Ravens offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg admitted that Jackson is taking too many hits, and has discussed sliding or ducking out of bounds more often with him.
“Yeah, that’s not good,” Mornhinweg said Wednesday, via ESPN’s Jamison Hensley. “It’s just that simple.
“We’d rather get down a step too early than a step too late. As you can see, that’s an ongoing process. Some of it is experience because he needs to have to filter through what he can get away with and what he can’t in this league.”
Jackson is known as a quarterback who can create with his legs, and he hasn’t slid at any point during preseason so far. In fact, in one instance, he actually lowered his head to flip over a tackler and gain more yardage. Jackson may be way ahead of the curve in some areas, and the Ravens will certainly admire his desire to compete, but they also know they must teach one of their prize young players to protect himself and minimize the risk of injury.
Lamar Jackson may be well on his way to pushing Joe Flacco for the Baltimore Ravens’ starting quarterback job.
Ravens offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg on Sunday praised Jackson for the work that he’s done, saying he’s “way ahead of the curve.”
Ravens offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said quarterback Lamar Jackson's accelerated improvement is the result of hard work. "He’s done an outstanding job up to date," Mornhinweg said. "He’s way ahead of the curve now."
— Jamison Hensley (@jamisonhensley) July 22, 2018
Baltimore made Jackson the No. 32 overall pick in the draft. They were hoping that Jackson would push Flacco for the starting job, and he seems to be doing so. He’s already No. 2 on the depth chart, and perhaps he is bringing out some improved play from Flacco too.
Mornhinweg also had praise for Flacco, who no longer appears to be limited by his back injury.
Perhaps biggest difference in training camp: Last year, Joe Flacco was sidelined with back injury. On Sunday, he showed his athleticism on run-pass option and sprinted 20 yards. "It looks like he’s moving and grooving better than he has in several years," OC Marty Mornhinweg said
— Jamison Hensley (@jamisonhensley) July 22, 2018
Between Jackson and a healthy Flacco, the Ravens may be well situated on offense this season.
It sounds as if the Baltimore Ravens are going to get a very motivated Joe Flacco for the 2018 season.
According to ESPN’s Jamison Hensley, there is a belief that the Ravens’ decision to draft quarterback Lamar Jackson has made Flacco more motivated this offseason, and that notion is backed by safety Eric Weddle.
“Drafting Lamar and bringing [Robert] Griffin in, it’s lit a fire under him,” Weddle said. “You can tell. It has shown.”
Just how much this will help is an open question. The prevailing belief is that the Ravens were sending a message to Flacco by trading up into the first round to select Jackson, and that that message has been received. Will it lead to a more efficient and successful Flacco on the field? Only time will tell. Given the belief that the Ravens will cut him after the season if he and the offense don’t show significant improvement, his career in Baltimore may hinge on it.
The overwhelming belief after the Ravens drafted Lamar Jackson in the first round is that Joe Flacco has just one season remaining in Baltimore, but the veteran quarterback may put up a fight before the team ushers in a new era.
In his latest column for The MMQB, Peter King reports that Flacco understands the Ravens are likely planning to move on from him in 2019, if not sooner. How the 33-year-old responds to the situation will be worth monitoring.
Joe Flacco’s gotten the message. That’s what I hear. And he’s too smart not to have gotten it. Flacco, 33, understands the trade-up pick of Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson means the Ravens have noticed his sub-.500 record and 82.4 passer rating in the past three years, regardless how much is his fault. The quarterback always takes major blame when an offense is lousy, and Baltimore’s has been bad—29th, 12th and 29th in passing yards in the past three seasons.
What’s more, the Ravens are a boring offense. They excite no one. They’re inefficient—and you can’t blame only Flacco, because the receiving group has been consistently disappointing too. When I saw this pick, I said I bet this is about more than dissatisfaction with Flacco. It’s about making the team exciting again in a market that has grown blasé, and throwing some change-ups with an electric quarterback. Flacco will get the first shot, and he may well play well enough to beat back Jackson. We’ll see.
The Ravens have made it clear that they still consider Flacco their starting QB, but they can save $18.5 million in salary cap space if they cut him next offseason. If his performance in 2018 is on par with the 83.1, 83.5 and 80.4 passer ratings he has posted the past three years, releasing him will be a no-brainer. In order for Flacco to prove he is worthy of being kept around, he might have to have something close to a Pro Bowl season.
Even if Baltimore has committed to Flacco as its starter, it sounds as if Jackson will have some role in the team’s offense immediately. Should the Ravens look better when Jackson is on the field, it would not be a surprise if he took Flacco’s job sooner rather than later.
The Baltimore Ravens have stated publicly that Joe Flacco remains their starting quarterback for 2018, but it sounds like first-round draft pick Lamar Jackson will be involved in the team’s offense in some capacity.
In an appearance on the “Tiki and Tierney” show Tuesday, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports stated emphatically that the Ravens are planning to design offensive packages for Jackson and have him on the field in Week 1.
“Lamar Jackson is going to be on the field Week 1,” La Canfora said. “Maybe it’s three plays, maybe it’s eight plays. He’s going to be on the field Week 5, and maybe it’s 10 plays and maybe it’s 15 plays, depending on how the offense goes. I don’t think they’re going to throw him into the deep end too soon, but they will create packages for him immediately.”
La Canfora praised Jackson for being an “athletic freak” and said he is the most athletic player on Baltimore’s roster. The Ravens can save $18.5 million in salary cap space if they cut Flacco next offseason, and La Canfora says the way fans lost interest in the team in 2017 coupled with Baltimore drafting Jackson makes it a guarantee that Flacco will not be back next year.
“I live in this town, and you couldn’t give away a Ravens ticket. … Flacco wasn’t going to be back in 2019 — even if they waited to the fifth round to draft a quarterback we had never heard of, but this absolutely cements it,” La Canfora added.
Judging by what the Ravens said about Jackson leading up to the draft, you know they have high hopes for the former Louisville star. Flacco, 33, is not that old by today’s NFL quarterback standards, but he has been mediocre at best over the past several seasons. It makes sense that his days in Baltimore are numbered.
Lamar Jackson continues to be his own best hype man.
The new Baltimore Ravens quarterback, who was drafted No. 32 overall, told reporters on Friday that he ran a 4.34 40-yard dash … while nursing turf toe.
Lamar Jackson says he ran a 4.34 40. “With turf toe.”
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) April 27, 2018
Jackson, 21, did not participate in this year’s combine but was indeed clocked at 4.34 during Louisville’s annual spring testing in March. Ravens’ editorial manager Ryan Mink put into perspective just how fast that time would have been at the combine.
Lamar Jackson didn't run the 40-yard dash at the Combine, but said he's been timed at 4.34.
That would have been tied for the fourth-fastest time of any player at this year's Combine.
— Ryan Mink (@ryanmink) April 27, 2018
The former Heisman winner was drafted as a quarterback, but at least his blazing speed gives him some added positional versatility in the event that he has to make an eventual switch (as had been buzzed about before the draft).