The Baltimore Ravens are going to hand the reins over to Lamar Jackson at some point within the relatively near future. That is just what you do when you are an NFL team that has just used a first-round draft pick to select a quarterback. Not a lot of them even sit back and wait anymore. Look at what just happened to Alex Smith.
So the Ravens know the clock is ticking on the Joe Flacco era and the beginning of the Jackson era, and both quarterbacks know it too. They wanted to get a little taste of that early, so they ended their final minicamp practice with the rookie quarterback running the show.
It was a great opportunity for Jackson to wrap things up as the team breaks for the next several weeks before training camp starts, and, generally, the impression is that he held his own and did not look out of place. Even Flacco offered a positive evaluation of his presumed heir.
“He’s doing a good job of learning, but he does a really good job of just naturally hanging in there and having his eyes down the field and finding the open guy”, he said, according to the Baltimore Sun. “He’s gradually getting better at speeding everything up, but he doesn’t make mistakes”.
Still, both Jackson himself and his coaches have been conservative in their own comments. While the rookie said that he felt “wonderful” after practice, he said that he didn’t want to grade himself, though he felt that he has “been pretty good”.
His quarterbacks coach said, “I’ve seen his ability to talk our language and verbiage, and throwing mechanics have improved. We’re heading in the right direction. There’s much much to improve”.
Head Coach John Harbaugh called the final minicamp practice “valuable” in terms of putting Jackson through the pressures of running an offense, calling plays, and developing his rhythm and mechanics in more high-profile scenarios.
The Ravens already plan to get Jackson on the field as soon as possible, experimenting with having both the rookie and Flacco on the field at the same time. The plan going forward is to employ this on offense during the regular season provided that it continues to develop well in the ‘laboratory’ over the course of training camp. I’m not sure they will try it in the preseason.
As much conclude every article on this subject, the Ravens have had very little success over the past five seasons since they won the Super Bowl. They have missed the postseason in four of the five years during that span, including in each of the past three, and have posted an exactly 40-40 record.
Flacco has also posted some of the worst numbers of his entire career, including a 5.7 yards per attempt figure, with a quarterback rating hovering ever so slightly over 80. He knows he will have to improve in order to fend off the rookie from taking his starting job, perhaps as early as this season.