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Lamar Jackson Will Be Even More Involved in Offensive Setup

QB Lamar Jackson
QB Lamar Jackson

Lamar Jackson got the keys to the Ravens offense in his first year under Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken.

Now Head Coach John Harbaugh wants Jackson to be even more involved this offseason.

"We have to build a car," Harbaugh said. "If Lamar's the driver, he has to be involved in the setup of the car even more."

"Last year, that wasn't even possible. This year, he's going to be involved, and we've talked about it, he's already involved by what we talked about yesterday in setting up that car."

Harbaugh said he and Jackson had a conversation Thursday to hash out the 17-10 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship and how they should have handled the game differently. He said they were in "lockstep."

Now the Ravens will move forward, and Jackson will be more involved in how it evolves in Year 2 under Monken, in addition to personnel.

Harbaugh said he and Jackson have already been talking about the Xs and Os of the offense.

"He's talking about how we attack the different defenses that we play. Anything from how we practice to it, to the options that we have, protecting runs, pass protection, how we protect and how we adjust the protection, how we get to certain routes against certain coverages," Harbaugh said.

"Those are things that are on his mind, and those are things that he's going to be involved with the staff talking about. I'm excited about that. He wants to do it. He's just into it. He's really into it."

Because of Jackson's contract negotiations last year, he wasn't involved until basically the start of organized team activities. It was a lot of learning with a new system, but the Ravens offense got stronger as the season went on and finished sixth in the league in yards per game (370.4) and fourth in points (28.4). Those were the Ravens' highest rankings since 2019.

For a multitude of reasons, Baltimore's offense went down in those rankings in 2020 and following years. The charge this offseason will be to make the Ravens' new offense sharper and more difficult for opponents to stop.

"This year, every day was a new day in the offense right on through the last part of the season," Harbaugh said. "Next year, it won't be a new day every single day. … I'm looking forward to that process."

Jackson won't just be involved in the evolution of the Ravens' offensive scheme. General Manager Eric DeCosta also said he might go down to Florida and visit with Jackson at some point this offseason to go out to dinner and talk over things.

DeCosta has sought Jackson's input on free agency and the draft in previous years, and that input played into the Ravens' acquisition of Odell Beckham Jr. and drafting of Zay Flowers.

"He's great about offering suggestions and ideas, and he and I have a great relationship, where we can exchange different ideas on personnel and things," DeCosta said. "He's a huge fan of college football, and I appreciate his feedback."

Jackson is widely expected to win his second MVP award next week, but his season ended with another premature playoff exit, eliciting a new round of doubt. The Ravens, however, aren't wavering one bit in their belief.

"Lamar Jackson is a phenomenal success," Harbaugh said. "He's a phenomenal success as a football player. He's a phenomenal success as a person, as a leader, as a family man, but you're asking about the football player. In my opinion, there's nobody better in this league, especially nobody better for the Baltimore Ravens and for this organization and for this city and just from a historical perspective. I'm excited about the future; I'm excited about taking this offense to the next level next year. [We have] an opportunity to pick up where we are and dig deeper with what we can give [Lamar]."

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