Lamar Jackson’s role in Baltimore’s offense looks like it’s going to expand.
The first-round pick has been used in a handful of offensive packages through the first nine games, lining up at quarterback, receiver and running back, and Head Coach John Harbaugh indicated after Sunday’s loss to the Steelers that the Ravens could see more of Jackson after the bye week.
“I would like to find more of it, to be honest with you,” Harbaugh said. “I would like to see him out there more and find ways to get him on the field more, if we can. He’s a good player.”
Harbaugh didn’t say that Jackson could replace Flacco as the starter, but that that rookie could see a larger share of the workload.
Jackson played 13 snaps in Sunday’s game and finished with five carries for 10 yards and one pass attempt for a 12-yard completion. He could have had a much bigger day, as he was wide open for first-half touchdown, but he wasn’t the main read on the play and quarterback Joe Flacco didn’t see him, so he went elsewhere for an incomplete pass.
Jackson’s presence has created problems for opposing defenses, and the running game has found some success when he’s on the field. At a point in the season where the offense has slowed, particularly in the red-zone, Jackson’s skillset could create some mismatches for the Ravens to exploit.
The rookie quarterback downplayed questions about his individual role and Harbaugh’s desire to get him more involved, and made his post-game media session about the team getting better overall.
“That’s pretty cool, but I just want my team to get together and we just have to win,” he said. “We’re just going to get better, regroup, come together and just stay focused.”
Jackson has consistently been hard on himself when he’s met with the media after games this year. He’s been quick to point out areas where he needs to improve, and stressed again Sunday that he feels like he needs to make more of an impact for however many plays he’s on the field.
“I feel like I need to do more. We need to score more points. That’s all,” he said. “I’ve got to help my team move the ball.”
Jackson has played more than 15 snaps just once this season, and that came in Week 1 when he took over for Flacco in the second half with the Ravens holding a huge lead over the Bills. The rest of the season, Jackson has averaged seven snaps per game.
Harbaugh pointed to the way the Saints have used versatile quarterback Taysom Hill. Even with future Hall of Famer Drew Brees as their starting quarterback, the Saints have created a significant role for Hill in their offense, and Harbaugh could see a similar situation with Jackson.
“The Saints came in here a couple weeks ago and put their two quarterbacks out there 24 times,” Harbaugh said. “Whether that’s something we do in the future, we have to decide. Our offensive coaches do a good job working through that stuff.”
Expanding Jackson’s role will certainly be a key discussion as the Ravens go into the bye week. After losing three-straight games to fall to 4-5 on the season, the offense is searching for a jump-start, and Jackson may be the spark they need.
“There’s a lot of season left to play and all we’re worried about is winning,” Jackson said.
Check out the best shots from Sunday's Week 9 game against the rival Pittsburgh Steelers.