When Lamar Jackson joins the Ravens' new offensive weapons, he expects a connection that produces major electricity.
The offseason acquisitions of Odell Beckham Jr., Zay Flowers and Nelson Agholor give Jackson the deepest group of receivers he has ever played with. With Rashod Bateman and Devin Duvernay returning from injuries, joining a tight end group led by Pro Bowler Mark Andrews and Isaiah Likely, Jackson believes he can have the most prolific passing season of his career.
"I'm very eager," Jackson said. "I want to throw for like 6,000 yards with the weapons we have.
"I'm not an individual awards type of guy, or stat watcher. (But) we've got explosive guys. Like coach said with the addition of Zay, OBJ, we've got Bateman going to be 100%. Can't forget about my boy Mark, Likely. I just can't wait to get rolling."
Jackson said he had spoken to new Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken and heard great things about the new schemes being installed. Some of his Ravens teammates had already told him they were "smooth."
During his unanimous MVP season of 2019, Jackson led the NFL in touchdown passes with 36 and had career-highs in yards per completion (9.0), passing yards (3,127) and quarterback rating (113.3).
Jackson has seen the dramatic impact that dynamic wide receivers have made when traded to new teams, like Stefon Diggs in Buffalo, Tyreek Hill in Miami and A.J. Brown in Philadelphia. He thinks Baltimore's new receiving corps can help him elevate Baltimore's aerial attack to new heights, and he already has a close relationship with Beckham.
Jackson confirmed he reached out to Beckham about signing with the Ravens a few weeks ago. At that time, Jackson was still uncertain how long it would take to reach an agreement with the Ravens.
"He (Beckham) reached out to me," Jackson said. "I was like, 'You're thinking about coming to us, I'm still part of the Ravens.' I was hyped about it. I've got Rashod, I've got Duv, I've got Mark, Likely. I've got these guys and then a new addition like him. We can go somewhere. I was definitely hyped about that."
Jackson is already very familiar with Flowers, Baltimore's first-round pick who is also a South Florida native. They have connected on the phone and will try to make plans to work out together.
"I'm very excited. He's well-known down there in South Florida, youth football on up," Jackson said.
Jackson said there was a possibility he would organize an offseason workout with a few of his targets prior to training camp.
"Hopefully I can get the guys together and start building our chemistry," he said.
The Ravens still have months before Week 1 to integrate their new offensive weapons and develop a cohesive unit. Expectations will be high, but the players and coaches are embracing that.
"It's going to be a lot of fun," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "Lamar's already looking at the playbook. He probably got a sneak peek at it before. It's got a chance to be exciting and fun. It's got a chance to be a winning offense, that's what we always want it to be. The expectations are always high. This year is no exception, but I understand it's kind of ramped up a little bit."
Harbaugh did not speculate on whether a deeper wide receiver group would result in fewer designed runs for Jackson. In 2019, Jackson set the all-time record for rushing yards by a quarterback (1,206) and in 2020 he became the first NFL quarterback with back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons.
Jackson's elusiveness and ability to buy time in the pocket has always been an asset, and now he has more targets who can take advantage of his mobility. However, there is no doubt Baltimore's offense will have a new look, in Jackson's first season with Monken and the new receiving corps. Like Jackson, Harbaugh is intrigued by the possibilities.
"I think unique in the way he sees the field," Harbaugh said. "You encourage him to play the way he plays. I think he's going to throw when it's time to throw and run when it's time to run. It's going to be great."