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Mailbag: Will Leaner Lamar Jackson Run More?

QB Lamar Jackson
QB Lamar Jackson

Mink: Lamar Jackson averaged 9.25 rushing attempts per game last season, the lowest of his career. It wasn't significantly down, however. He averaged 9.3 carries per game in 2022, 11.1 in 2021, and 10.6 in 2020.

I don't expect Jackson's carries per game to increase, even though he's slimmed down in hopes of being more agile. The Ravens brought Derrick Henry to Baltimore to shoulder the load.

With that said, I also don't expect Jackson's run totals to drop much. Running is part of what makes him an ultimate threat to defenses, and Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken is never going to take that away.

I think part of Jackson's weight loss is about getting more yards per carry, not more carries. Hopefully he's even faster and more explosive in 2024, even if he continues to carve up defenses with his right arm.

Brown: I'd point to the cornerback position. Brandon Stephens and Marlon Humphrey are veteran returning starters, but I think first-round pick Nate Wiggins is going to push them. Even if Wiggins doesn't start, he's going to play regularly as part of a cornerback rotation.

There's also fierce competition at slot cornerback. According to Pro Football Focus, All-Pro safety Kyle Hamilton played more snaps in the slot (465) in 2023 than he did at free safety (301) or strong safety (236). With Arthur Maulet, Hamilton, Humphrey and Damarion "Pepe" Williams all capable of playing slot, how will snaps be divided among them?

Meanwhile, Williams and Jalyn Armour-Davis will be fighting to secure a spot on the 53-man roster. Both have been plagued by injuries during their first two seasons, and the Ravens drafted another talented corner in fourth-round pick T.J. Tampa. The quality depth at cornerback will create high-end competition during training camp and preseason.

Mink: I don't think the Ravens have a "big" move ahead of them. They're pretty tight against the salary cap and aren't a team I expect to make any kind of splashy trade. Brandon Aiyuk isn't walking through those doors, for those wondering.

However, I do expect Baltimore to monitor the offensive lineman and safety markets. There are big names still out there at safety if the Ravens want to take a swing. More likely, I think they'll see what experienced guard/tackle could shake loose from other teams, either via trade during training camp or when roster cuts are made.

Brown: I'm not sure that anyone is the favorite at right guard. We'll see if Faalele, who got a late start in football, is ready to blossom.

Faalele played tackle in college and has taken most of his NFL reps at that position. It will be interesting to see if he gets more work at guard once training camp begins. I don't think anyone has taken control at either right guard or right tackle. However, I think Faalele needs a very strong summer to beat out others competing for starting jobs on the right side like Ben Cleveland, Josh Jones, and Roger Rosengarten.

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