When Lamar Jackson looked back at the film from his rookie season, he noticed a pattern to his errors in the passing game: his mechanics.
As Jackson heads into Year 2, the area for improvement is obvious. Sure, Jackson said he wants to get “bigger, faster, stronger,” but making advancements throwing the ball will be what’s most closely monitored and coached.
Jackson completed 58.2 percent of his passes during his rookie season. That ranked 31st in the league.
“[Mechanics] had a lot to do with it,” Jackson said. “I was probably getting lazy, trying to make things happen with just my arm and not following through with my legs, and it showed a lot. I would throw an inaccurate ball.”
Jackson already began the work this offseason, as he went back to Florida to train with his former high school coach, Joshua Harris. Asked about the points of emphasis, Jackson pointed to his fundamentals.
“Keeping a wide base, throwing out-breaking routes,” Jackson said. “Just trying to be spot-on with my accuracy, trying to work on every attribute I can.”
Jackson was working on worn out fields in Pompano Beach, Fla. that even safety Tony Jefferson poked fun at Tuesday. Second-year wide receiver Jordan Lasley came to work out with Jackson, as did former Louisville teammate Jaylen Smith, who could be a late-round draft pick next week.
After a short January break, Jackson said he threw the ball every Monday-Friday, and he already started to notice a difference. Once he can start working with the Ravens’ coaching staff, he’ll pick up where he left off.
“I feel like I was throwing a lot better this offseason, but we’ll have to see when OTAs get here,” Jackson said.
Jackson is far from the only rookie quarterback who needs to improve as a thrower. He had a better completion percentage than fellow rookies Sam Darnold (Jets), Josh Rosen (Cardinals) and Josh Allen (Bills), for example.
Jackson and the Ravens know that if they can make him a more polished thrower and combine that with his rare running ability, it will make him a supremely dangerous threat.
“I don’t feel like I’m the best I can be,” Jackson said. “You’ll have to see when the season comes. I’m still working.”
Jackson is in a much different space, physically and mentally, this offseason. He admitted that last year’s pre-draft process was exhausting, and it rolled right into his rookie season without a break. Last year, he came to Baltimore as Joe Flacco’s backup. Now he’s the clear No. 1.
Jackson’s teammates were impressed by his leadership last year, and they have already noticed a change as Year 2 kicks off.
“His swag is a lot different because he knows he’s QB1,” second-year right tackle Orlando Brown Jr. said. “He’s Lamar. He’s outgoing, he’s got a very positive personality about everything. But I think this year he knows what to expect going into the day and he knows what to expect once we get onto the field.”
“Lamar’s our quarterback. It’s his team. We’re following his lead,” Jefferson added. “We know how big of a leader he can be and how special he can be on the football field. We’re depending on him and we know he’s putting in the work that’s needed.”
Check out the newcomers and some familiar faces as players reported for the voluntary strength and conditioning program.