While attending this week’s owner’s meetings in Arizona, Ravens coach John Harbaugh provided a glimpse into the offseason strategy for Lamar Jackson.
The young quarterback is working with his private coach Joshua Harris, who also led his pro-day throwing drills preceding the 2018 NFL Draft. The two are running drills in South Florida, where Harris also coaches high school football.
In addition, several Ravens receivers have also worked out with Jackson in Florida, though Harbaugh declined to disclose any specific names. However, Chris Moore, Willie Snead, Jordan Lasley, Quincy Adeboyejo and Jaleel Scott are the only wideouts on the current roster.
“I know he’s throwing quite a bit,” Harbaugh said. “He’s got a quarterback trainer down there that he’s working with. A number of receivers have gone down and worked with him. … He’s been throwing regularly and I think he’ll ramp that up even more as he gets closer.”
At age 21, Jackson was the youngest quarterback to ever start in the NFL postseason. He has effectively run the offense ever since he took over the starting role for Joe Flacco, who suffered a right hip injury in Week 9.
The Ravens won six of their last seven games with Jackson as the starter and earned their first AFC North Division title since 2012. Jackson amassed 556 rushing yards over that stretch, which ranked seventh in the NFL. Overall, Jackson led all NFL quarterbacks with 695 yards rushing.
Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman said this is really Jackson’s first offseason as an NFL quarterback. Last year, he was distracted by the pre-draft workouts, “the banquet circuit” and other obligations.
This year, he can fully focus on football and becoming a better passer.
“Lamar has a unique skillset, and just like any young guy, he’s going to develop,” Roman said. “So, as far as him throwing the football, we feel great about it, and we saw a lot of improvement last year throughout the season. And really, he’s only going to get better from here. And, I think there are some fundamental things that were exposed to him last year that he’s really grabbed hold of, and we saw improve.
“I would say that I don’t know how much they were really, really emphasized in the college game with him. He had a unique ability in college to play a unique style, and I think decisions were made to focus on certain areas when he was in college. The sky is the limit there.”
Speaking of Moore, the Ravens expect him to play an even bigger role in the offense this year. Earlier this month, former Ravens receiver John Brown tweeted that “Our best receiver was Chris Moore I hope they use him big time he’s a play maker that needs to be used and his work ethic is crazy. Needs to be a starter.”
Harbaugh already met with Moore this offseason and expects him to have a big year for the team. Moore had 19 receptions for 196 yards with a touchdown last season.
Harbaugh also lauded the young receivers on the roster and expressed confidence in them going forward.
“We don’t have household names now but they will be soon,” he said.
The current group of receivers are going to have to contribute, because Harbaugh admitted the team has not heard from any free-agent wideouts. The Ravens will likely add a receiver or possibly two via the upcoming NFL Draft.
Harbaugh is not overly concerned about the current lack of depth at that position. As usual, the Ravens will play with a chip on their shoulder.
“You’re not going to be a certain type of receiver and want to come play in Baltimore,” Harbaugh said. “We have not received phone calls from some guys. That’s okay. I don’t want to hear from those guys. We want rough guys, we want tough guys.”