Joe Flacco Is Cool With Ravens Creating Special Packages for Lamar Jackson


Ravens coaches always knew they wanted to use Lamar Jackson during his rookie season, even if it wasn't in the tradition quarterback role.

That's why Head Coach John Harbaugh said during rookie minicamp that Baltimore's coaches were in the "laboratory" devising ways to utilize Jackson's unique playmaking style.

Joe Flacco being on board, however, was a question mark, at least to those outside the Under Armour Performance Center.

Five years ago, the typically mild-mannered veteran quarterback made it clear that he didn't like quarterback trickery in the offense. When mobile backup Tyrod Taylor ran some wildcat plays in 2013, Flacco said it made the Ravens look "like a high school offense."

Thus, Flacco was asked Thursday how he would handle it during the season if the Ravens built some special packages for Jackson this year.

"It's always interesting. We dealt with this a few years ago," Flacco said.

"Listen, I want to win football games – whatever is going to help us win. I'm probably going to maintain that I think myself under center is our best chance to win football games, but whatever helps us win football games, I'm game."

The Ravens offense has lacked dynamic, game-changing playmakers in recent years. With his 4.3-second speed and ankle-breaking juke moves, Jackson can provide help.

The question is how and when the Ravens use Jackson, and that's still being ironed out.

For example, Jackson could be utilized in third-and-short situations or the red zone. He showed a great nose for the end zone in college, scoring 50 rushing touchdowns in three seasons. It's hard to defend a running quarterback around the goal line.

Another possibility is trick plays, which Baltimore showed some of in practice Thursday (the details cannot be shared). Flacco and Jackson could both be on the field at the same time.

Or Baltimore could use Jackson in a wildcat-like offense. On a few occasions Thursday, Jackson took the snap, outraced a linebacker to the edge and shook players in the secondary, leading to cheers of excitement from his teammates (including defenders) watching on the sideline.

There's no question that when Jackson has the ball in his hands, there's an additional threat to worry about for the defense and it's exhilarating to watch as a spectator.

Asked if he sees any similarities between Jackson and himself when he was a rookie, Flacco said Jackson reminds him of all rookies.

"You come out for the first couple of times, and you're trying to do everything super fast," Flacco said. "You see that with rookies all the time. They tend to speed everything up, just because they want to make a good impression and they want to do things the right way."

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