Joshua Harris has never had to motivate Lamar Jackson to work hard during the offseason. Jackson's desire to improve is part of his DNA, which is an asset to Harris as Jackson's longtime personal quarterback coach.
The two men enjoy working together in Jackson's native South Florida. This offseason, Harris has some specifics he wants to focus on with Jackson, such as his footwork and throwing delivery.
"We're still working on mechanics," Harris said in a recent interview for Episode 9 of "Black in the NFL." "That's the thing that you just have to constantly be working on in the offseason.
"We'll be working on footwork and getting the elbow through (on throws). He loves it, the sidearm (throw). I don't love the sidearm. I'm not going to get too mad at it, but I do try to tell him, 'Hey, have it be a tool in your toolbox, but not the main tool,' so we'll have a discussion about that."
The work on improving Jackson's accuracy when throwing outside the numbers will continue, along with emphasis on the mental aspects of playing quarterback. As they review tape of Jackson's 2020 season, Harris and Jackson will discuss the various coverages he faced and why he made certain reads correctly or incorrectly.
Opposing teams spend many hours trying to devise ways to contain Jackson, and he will be searching for new ways to counter those tactics. Jackson can make game-changing plays with both his arm and his legs, and Harris wants to help Jackson anticipate where different defensive schemes will be most vulnerable.
Harris believes the 2020 season was another important phase in Jackson's overall growth. He led the Ravens into the playoffs for the third straight year, overcoming adversity along the way, and he tasted victory in the postseason for the first time. Now the focus is on using this offseason to improve.
"We've seen Lamar do amazing things, but he just turned 24 in January," Harris said. "If you're older, rewind the clock back and remember what you were doing at 24. I try to always have people understand that not only is he a player, he's human.
"In this past season, there was adversity that wasn't there (before). The year he won the MVP, it was kind of like a fairy tale. This year there was some adversity, roadblocks, COVID, all kinds of other things. I was so proud of how he handled it and matured."