Ravens minicamp wrapped up Thursday, meaning players will scatter across the country for five weeks “off” before training camp opens in late July.
But for quarterback Lamar Jackson, the man holding the keys to the Ravens’ offense, the work doesn’t stop.
Jackson said he “might” work with famed quarterbacks coach Tom House, a former Major League Baseball pitcher who has become the guru of throwing mechanics.
Based in Southern California, House has worked with many NFL star quarterbacks over the years, including Drew Brees. Joe Flacco paid him a visit early in his career and the 49ers’ Jimmy Garoppolo will train with House this summer.
Jackson will also return to his home state of Florida and likely work with his high school coach, Joshua Harris, who he trained with during his time off after last season ended.
Jackson also volunteered that he will make arrangements to get together with his pass-catchers before training camp to keep their momentum rolling and stay sharp.
Jackson met up with Jordan Lasley and undrafted rookie Jaylen Smith in Florida before the start of Organized Team Activities (OTAs). Jackson named Willie Snead IV, Chris Moore, Quincy Adeboyejo and his running backs as more players he’d like to throw to this summer.
“July, we’re going to get together here or in Florida,” Jackson said. "We’re just going to try to get better, keep it going.”
Jackson was quite critical of himself after the first week of OTAs, saying he “sucked” on the first day and was “alright” for the first week. He was more pleased with his three days of minicamp.
“I feel like they were pretty good,” Jackson said. “Just been working hard, trying to perfect my craft. I’m trying to be the best that I can be to help my team win games, get in great situations. I feel I was very productive.”
It’s evident that Jackson’s mechanics – a wider base, more consistent footwork, cleaner release – have all improved. There haven’t been as many wobbly passes as there were early in OTAs. Jackson still has some occasional misses, like any quarterback, but his accuracy was generally pretty strong in minicamp.
He had a few interceptions Wednesday but bounced back with perhaps his best day of the spring/summer on Thursday, in which he carved up Baltimore’s defense in a 7-on-7 red-zone drill with five touchdown passes to five different targets. Don’t forget, that’s against a secondary that might be the best in the NFL.
“I feel like they were pretty good today, just working, trying to be the best that I can be, but today was pretty outstanding, yes,” Jackson said.
“We have the No. 1 defense in the NFL. Our defense is running around to the ball, full speed, all 11 to the ball. … It’s hard to get big plays on our defense.”
Jackson had a ton of success his rookie season, leading the Ravens to win six of their last seven regular-season games and steal the AFC North crown. He struggled in the playoff loss to the Los Angeles Chargers when they had all eyes on him, which highlighted the need for him to take the next step as a passer to keep defenses more honest.
With fast, big-play weapons around him, Jackson and the Ravens knew the young quarterback simply just had to improve. With game-breaking running ability, he doesn’t need to become Brees. He just needs to steadily improve in all areas of his throwing, and he’s done that.
“If you would divide all the different things that go in to playing quarterback, I think it would be amazing to many people how many columns there are. He has raised his level in every column, to a certain extent,” Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman said.
“Lamar is the kind of guy that, the more he does something, he’s going to get better at it. … We’ve been really trying to focus on certain things, but I think everything has really elevated. It has to keep elevating, too – for every player.”