This revelation may not exactly knock your socks off, but the future success of any franchise who makes a major investment in a young quarterback is largely tied to that individual consistently making strides in his ability to throw the ball with accuracy and in the right places, at the right times.
That even applies to Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens, with the 2018 first-round pick having run the ball nearly as frequently as he threw it, also setting a record for the most rushing attempts by a quarterback in a season in NFL history, even though he only started seven games.
The team was able to go 6-1 with him under center, and they were only 4-5 in the nine games started by Joe Flacco. That fact cannot be ignored. But it also cannot be ignored that the first team that got to face him twice spent most of that second game looking like a running back playing quarterback. That would be the Los Angeles Chargers, who made sure they were one and done in the postseason.
Even though they invested a first-round pick into the quarterback position, the Ravens have consistently spoken of their offense in run-first terms, geared toward Gus Edwards and free agent acquisition Mark Ingram to shoulder the load, even while investing a pair of early draft picks in the wide receiver position.
While Head Coach John Harbaugh indicated that he still expected Jackson to run the ball a lot, the quarterback himself seemed to dispute that recently, suggesting that he plans to throw the ball more. And apparently he has been throwing it better in training camp.
“I think he’s throwing tremendous balls out there, compared to what it was in the spring”, said veteran tight end Nick Boyle. “You can see his improvement. You can see the timing of the receivers and the tight ends and the whole offense kind of meshing. I was talking to one of the coaches – it’s only been a week here so far in training camp. I think we got better really fast. It’s very encouraging”.
Harbaugh also said that the defensive players have told him that the new offense, architected largely by offensive coordinator Greg Roman, is giving them a lot to defend, which the head coach expressed pleasure in. That variety could make the early games against the Ravens difficult to defend.
Fortunately, the Pittsburgh Steelers don’t have to face the Ravens until October in Week Five, so hopefully by then they will have put more than enough on tape for the coaching staff to get a good scouting report together.