Harbaugh: ‘A Number’ of Receivers Have Worked Out With Jackson
Quarterback Lamar Jackson enters his first full offseason as the full-fledged starter in Baltimore and the offseason grind never stops.
At the NFL Annual League Meetings yesterday, Head Coach John Harbaugh said receivers have gone down to Florida to work with Jackson on building their chemistry before offseason workouts.
“[Lamar] has a quarterback trainer down there he’s working with,” Harbaugh said. “A number of receivers have gone down and worked with him … But he’s been throwing regularly and I think he’ll ramp that up even more as he gets closer.”
It looks like one of those receivers was second-year wideout Jordan Lasley.
In a season where Jackson led the charge by winning six of his first seven games, he played in an offense that was completely changed mid-season. Both parties are starting from scratch and Harbaugh fully acknowledged that Jackson is still developing as a passer, and this offseason is critical to develop a rapport with his receiving corps.
Jackson’s strong work ethic has been clear since he arrived in Baltimore and the chance for a young quarterback to gain chemistry with his receivers his huge.
“Every extra throw is a chance for Jackson to develop his timing, touch and mechanics,” wrote RavensWire’s Matthew Stevens. “While working with his teammates, Jackson will further jell with guys he’ll be counting on to come up with big plays on the opposite end of his arm.”
An “unproven” wide receiver group will look to prove doubters wrong with a quarterback who wants to do the same.
Reaction Mixed to League’s New Rule Allowing Pass Interference Challenges
Officiating could look a lot different next season.
Yesterday, NFL owners voted to expand replay review for pass interference calls and no-calls on a one-year trial run.
The change comes on the heels of a controversial no-call in the NFC Championship Game between the New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Rams.
“We went in with the idea that we were absolutely willing to expand it,” said NFL Competition Committee Chairman Rich McKay. “The reason that we made the proposals [defensive pass interference] and [offensive pass interference] was that we had data that said these are the most impactful plays.”
Of course, with any change, it was met with various reactions.
Many praised the rule change, allowing officials to have an extra set of eyes while trying to make judgment calls in real-time.
You would think this change would settle any major drama, right?
Well, not exactly.
Others like CBS Sports’ Adam Schein expressed their doubts given the subjective nature of calls – especially when it comes to desperation heaves at the end of games.
Harbaugh will be a happy camper after he previously called for an expansion of replay.
"We have great officials,” Harbaugh said back in February. “These guys are incredible at what they do. We've also put a lot of rules in place that have made it really tough on them. They've got a lot on their plate, so let's add an official, let's add two officials, let's put one up in the box, let's expand replay if we want, and let's make sure at the end of the day the fans walk out of the stadium and walk away from the TV sets knowing that was a good, hard-fought, well-played, fairly officiated game, and the outcome is as it should be.”
Mel Kiper Mocks Combine Standout to Ravens
Mock drafts change like the weather in Maryland and it’s no surprise to see draft analysts like ESPN’s Mel Kiper constantly shuffle their big boards throughout the offseason.
Kiper’s first two mocks had the Ravens selecting Ole Miss wide receiver A.J. Brown and Alabama running back Josh Jacobs.
This time around, Kiper stayed on the offensive theme, but in the trenches with Texas A&M center/guard Erik McCoy.
“Another post-combine riser, McCoy ran the fastest 40-yard dash of any offensive lineman (4.89 seconds) in Indianapolis,” Kiper wrote. “And when you turn on the tape, you see a consistent player with great feet. The 6-foot-4, 303-pound McCoy started all 38 games of his Texas A&M career, including a few at guard. The versatility is a plus, and the Ravens could play him at left guard or center.”
Forty-yard dash times don’t necessarily correlate to success on the offensive line, but McCoy’s athleticism is something to take notice of. McCoy played at guard and center during his time in College Station and that versatility entices NFL teams, especially when the results come with it.
McCoy helped pave the way for a rushing attack that averaged 219 yards per game in 2018.
“Excellent feet and quickness with a thick lower body that makes him tough to push around; plays with a nasty demeanor in the run game,” PressBox’s Ken Zalis wrote.
It wouldn’t be a “sexy” pick, but teams can never seem to go wrong with a potential plug-and-play starter.
Also keep in mind that the Ravens have an impressive track record of drafting and developing offensive linemen through the draft.
Maurice Jones-Drew Sets the Bar High For Mark Ingram
Mark Ingram’s addition on a three-year, $15 million deal with the Ravens has been regarded as an underrated move by some pundits.
After splitting time in the backfield with Alvin Kamara the past two seasons in New Orleans, NFL Network analyst and former Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew believes Ingram is in line for a standout season in Baltimore.
Jones-Drew predicted Ingram will total 1,000-plus rushing yards, 200 receiving yards and 12 total touchdowns.
“As the RB1 in Baltimore, which has a run-first offense, Ingram should receive the bulk of the carries, with Lamar Jackson being the other major component of the ground attack,” wrote Jones-Drew. “The second-year quarterback is a huge running threat and will provide opportunities for Ingram to make plays.”
Ingram was one of two relocated running backs (Le’Veon Bell) in Jones-Drew’s “greater production” category.
When comparing the two side-by-side, Ingram seems like the bargain.
Even going on 29-years-old, Ingram still has tread on the tires. He totaled back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons in 2016 and 2017 before missing four games last season due to a suspension.