Lamar Jackson Loves Holding the Keys to Todd Monken's Offense

QB Lamar jackson

Talking about Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken's system, Lamar Jackson sounds like someone who loves a new car after taking a test drive.

After arriving at the Under Armour Performance Center Tuesday to begin working with coaches, Jackson took the field at Ravens OTAs Wednesday for his first practice in Monken's offense.

"The new offense is smooth," Jackson said. "I'm loving it so far. Coach is basically just giving us the keys to the offense."

Jackson said there's more verbiage in Monken's offense. There's also more verbiage coming from his coordinator's mouth. Monken is very energetic on the field, and Jackson said that's also the case in the classroom.

"Coach is very active," Jackson said. "He's talkative and you're enjoying it – the learning process of what he's saying [when he's] teaching us the new offense. It's fun."

Playing in a different system with new weapons Odell Beckham Jr., Zay Flowers and Nelson Agholor, Jackson clearly believes Baltimore's offense will be more versatile and explosive.

The Ravens have run the ball more often than any NFL team since Jackson became the starting quarterback in 2018, and much of that running has been done by Jackson. However, the NFL's 2019 Most Valuable Player is clearly looking forward to having more opportunities to move Baltimore's offense through the air.

"Running can only take you so far," Jackson said. "I feel like, with this new era of teams and offenses in the league, I feel like we need that. And Coach Todd Monken, what I'm seeing in his offense so far is looking tremendous."

Jackson also believes he'll have more freedom to change plays at the line of scrimmage, and that the offense will have a faster pace between plays. Getting to the line of scrimmage faster would also give Jackson more time to audible.

"You can change whenever you want to," Jackson said. "You see the defense and it's not looking right to you, you see a guy blitzing, [or] you might want your receiver to do something different. Coach is giving you the freedom to do whatever you want to."

Jackson said the new offense is one reason he decided to arrive at voluntary OTAs this week rather than waiting longer. Being at the Under Armour Performance Center gives Jackson a chance to spend extra time face-to-face with Monken and Quarterbacks Coach Tee Martin.

"I'm studying, being in the meeting rooms, staying after," Jackson said. "When everybody is leaving the building, I'm still here with Coach Tee and Coach 'Monk' and going over things."

Mental preparation is a large part of what Jackson is doing at this point. Jackson threw during the early portion of practice, but Josh Johnson, Anthony Brown and Tyler Huntley handled the 11-on-11 reps on Wednesday while Jackson watched and took mental notes. Head Coach John Harbaugh said they'll "ramp up" Jackson with his conditioning and learning the offense.

"I'm excited that he's here, of course, but I knew he was going to come in sometime right around now," Harbaugh said. "For him to be here is great. He was into it [and] into the meetings. The last two days, [he's] been completely locked in, and he's getting back with the guys and everything."

Jackson said he planned to participate throughout the remainder of OTAs, which will give him even more reps to familiarize himself with Monken's system. While he has quipped about "throwing for 6,000 yards" in the new offense, Jackson emphasized that winning will always be his primary concern, and he is embracing the challenge of doing that in a new system.

"I'm not really worried about the (throwing) yards," Jackson said. "It's about us winning."

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