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Lamar Jackson Is Getting More on His Plate in Year 2 With Todd Monken

QB Lamar Jackson
QB Lamar Jackson

Last season, the Ravens gave Lamar Jackson the keys to the offense, and he responded by winning his second MVP.

Entering his second season in Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken's system, Baltimore wants Jackson to drive them even faster and farther, all the way to Super Bowl LIX.

Those are high expectations, but Jackson is embracing the challenge. Quarterbacks Coach Tee Martin said he has been impressed by Jackson's approach this offseason after a sharp offensive showing on Day 2 of mandatory OTAs. Jackson connected for impressive completions to Zay Flowers, Charlie Kolar and Isaiah Likely among others, while making frequent adjustments at the line of scrimmage.

More points, more big plays, more versatility – the Ravens are chasing a high bar offensively. Martin says that's the only approach to take with a quarterback as talented as Jackson.

"You're not going to give a guy the keys to the Ferrari and tell him to do 30," Martin said. "Last year was a great year in the sense of doing things from a technical perspective. How can we give him more responsibility within the offense, doing more things that he likes to do, listening to him and building around that?

"When you have players like that, you have to continue to push them to keep them interested. It's like that smart kid in the classroom, you can't allow them to get bored, right? He's like that. You have to constantly add things, tweaks and things of that nature and responsibilities."

The Ravens finished fourth in the NFL in scoring last season (28.4 points per game) and sixth in total offense. However, the 17-10 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs equaled Baltimore's lowest point total of the season. Jackson was sacked four times and hit seven times in that game, as the Chiefs used heavy blitz packages to decrease his comfort level in the pocket.

Martin said the Ravens learned from that game and have been expanding ways they will counter creative blitzes and other defensive looks they expect to see next season. Defensive Coordinator Zach Orr has dialed up blitzes on a regular basis in practice, and Martin likes how Jackson has responded. Even after making a mistake, Jackson has not loss his aggressiveness.

"We're not playing scared, we're not coaching scared, that's the only way you can grow in this type of offense," Martin said.

"I think the best thing that we're doing is seeing it every day from our defense, and I thought Kansas City did do a good job in the AFC Championship game of challenging some of our protections and doing some things that did cause issues. That was an area of us looking at tape and saying, 'How can we improve in those areas?'"

Jackson said he's been pleased with how the offense has been evolving in Year 2 with Monken, but wants to see more growth when training camp begins.

"I believe our offense is taking steps in the right direction," Jackson said. "We don't really know who the guys are going to be right now. We're not in camp, we're not close to the first game or anything like that. Guys are moving good, running great routes, catching the ball, blocking good. We look pretty smooth. But I can't tell until we're in pads."

The addition of running back Derrick Henry, who often forces more defenders into the box, could create more opportunities to take shots downfield against one-on-one coverage. Mark Andrews and Isaiah Likely playing more often together in multiple tight end formations could be another wrinkle that Monken decides to exploit more often.

There are many possibilities, but the Ravens are moving forward offensively, as they chase the championship that eluded them last season.

"I'm focusing on just getting better and focusing on tomorrow," Jackson said. "We just had a great practice. We're just trying to keep it going."

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