Ravens’ Lamar Jackson expects fewer runs, more throws
OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Lamar Jackson’s first impression of the Baltimore Ravens’ new offense: more freedom and less confidence in his legs.
After his first practice with the Ravens’ new offensive coordinator, Todd Monken, Jackson was extremely happy with the direction of the new scheme and believes a change in philosophy was needed to be successful going forward.
“Less running and more throwing,” Jackson said when asked what this offense would allow him to show.
Jackson is the most prolific quarterback in NFL history. His 4,437 career rushing yards are the most of any quarterback in their first five seasons — 1,230 more yards than second-ranked Cam Newton.
Baltimore is 16-1 when Jackson rushes for 90 yards or more, but the quarterback also had an NFL record 877 hits over the past five seasons.
Jackson cracked a big smile when asked if his rushing attempts would be scaled back this year.
“Absolutely, absolutely,” Jackson said. “Especially with the receivers we have.”
The Ravens revamped a group that ranked last in the NFL last season in receiving yards. Baltimore signed Odell Beckham Jr. and Nelson Agholor in free agency, then drafted Zay Flowers in the first round.
Jackson indicated that the improved supporting cast will change the focus of the offense. In four seasons under former offensive coordinator Greg Roman, the Ravens ranked first in rushing attempts (2,194) and second-to-bottom in passing attempts (1,945).
“Running can only take you so far,” Jackson said. “And I feel like with this new era of teams and offenses in the league, I feel like we need that. Coach Todd Monken, what I see in his offense so far looks great.”
Wednesday’s practice was Jackson’s first since becoming the NFL’s highest-paid player at $52 million per season. He missed the last two weeks of voluntary on-field practices and skipped Monday’s first team activity before reporting Tuesday.
The Ravens held off Jackson in team drills, but coach John Harbaugh said the team will “move him forward” going forward.
“I’m glad he’s here, of course,” Harbaugh said. “He was in the meetings. He’s been locked up the last two days, completely locked up. So that’s a good thing.”
Along with a five-year, $260 million deal, the Ravens are giving Jackson more leeway at the line of scrimmage. He pointed out that Monken “just gives us the keys to offense, really.”
“You can change things up whenever you want,” Jackson said. “You see the defense, and you don’t like it. You see a guy blitzing, you might want your receiver to do something different. The coach gives you free agency to do whatever you want. “