Lamar Jackson Practices Calling Ravens Plays in the Mirror

Mirror, mirror on the wall … zebra, scat, trips, 42, break!

Rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson may be saying something like that in his hotel room today as he and the Ravens get ready for their preseason opener against the Chicago Bears in the Hall of Fame game.

Jackson's professional debut is the national broadcast's marquee event, but it's the work he's put in by himself that may go the furthest in determining if it's a success.

Jackson said Tuesday that he's been practicing calling the Ravens' offensive plays by reciting them to himself in front of the mirror.

"Coach gives me the plays, and I get in the huddle, and it starts tongue-twisting me, and I'm like, 'Uh … Say it again?'" Jackson said. "So yeah, I have to stand in the mirror and say and look at the plays, try to say them to myself to get ready for the next day."

Game management has been one of the biggest hurdles for Jackson so far in his development. Coaches are working with him on his footwork and throwing mechanics. They're teaching him how to better read defenses and where passes should go.

But it's how Jackson handles getting the play calls to his teammates that Head Coach John Harbaugh said he wants to see most.

"Poise. Operate," Harbaugh said. "You have to run the show. To see him run the show with confidence and get things right would be the main thing for him. After that, play football and see what happens."

Louisville Head Coach Bobby Petrino engineered dynamic offensive concepts for Jackson, but it was mostly delivered using hand signals and one-word calls. Jackson only sometimes huddled his offensive teammates. He used less and simpler verbiage.

Quarterbacks Coach James Urban said he knew adjusting to much more complex NFL play-calls was going to be Jackson's biggest challenge in the NFL. Urban said Jackson has been great with it so far, but the Ravens also haven't been practicing with music. Thursday night, when the action is faster and the crowd is cheering, will be a new test.

"[It's] just breaking down each play, letting everyone know what they have on certain plays in each position," Jackson said.

Asked what he wants to show everybody watching in his debut, the 2016 Heisman Trophy winner said, "[That] I'm a quarterback." Jackson dominated the college football level, but some people question whether he'll be able to transition his unique game to the NFL.

"Yeah – that's the first thing I want to show off," Jackson said. "And just show them the growth [from] college on to my new chapter in life."

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