What do you do when you have a franchise quarterback who doesn’t seem to be much of a franchise quarterback anymore, and you’ve just drafted a player that you believe is capable of developing into that role? If you’re the Baltimore Ravens, you try to get them on the field at the same time.
That is the plan, at least, as we sit here during minicamp in June. The Ravens are working with formations that have both Joe Flacco and first-round draft pick Lamar Jackson on the field at the same time, though reporters would not divulge the specifics of how that played out, even if the most likely formations are pretty safe to predict.
Presumably, it might resemble something like the Wildcat, which we have seen even Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers forced to indulge several years ago during the first couple of seasons of Le’Veon Bell’s career, though they have not used him in that role in recent years.
“If we put two quarterbacks on the field at once, what options does it create for our offense? That’s what we’ve tried to figure out”, Baltimore’s head coach, John Harbaugh, ruminated on Tuesday at the outset of OTAs.
If the plan is for him to be active on gamedays, as stated in the article linked to above, then the Ravens want to get him on the field, but in reality, they could utilize this tactic either way. Their other backup quarterback is Robert Griffin III, who no doubt would be capable to doing many of the same things with his legs as Jackson.
Though the more recent Heisman Trophy winner did rush for over 4000 yards and 50 touchdowns during his three college seasons, a remarkable achievement that has some within the team comparing him to a young Mike Vick.
Harbaugh noted that if Jackson is going to be doing different things on the field, including throwing the ball, then that means Flacco is going to have to be able to do some different things as well. “It gets the creative juices flowing for our offensive coaches, and they’ve worked hard at it”, he said.
I am quite certain that Flacco is beyond thrilled about the prospect of being flanked out to wide receiver where he can be startled by a cornerback like Mark Sanchez whenever it was ‘Tebow Time’ oh so many seasons ago in New York.
Not that his play on the field in recent years has granted him any sort of benefit of the doubt. That is precisely why the Ravens drafted a quarterback in the first round in the first place. The intention is for Jackson to be the starter in Baltimore, at the latest, within a few seasons from now.
But he will be getting on the field and contributing as early as day one, if the beginning of minicamp is any indication of how they expect things to go.