The way to get Lamar Jackson on the field during his rookie year doesn’t have to be an either/or proposition.
The Ravens are experimenting with what they can do with BOTH Joe Flacco and Jackson on the field at the same time.
At times during Tuesday’s first minicamp practice, Flacco and Jackson both trotted out with the first-team offense and lined up at multiple spots. For tactical reasons, we won’t divulge what happened, but it was creative.
“If we put two quarterbacks on the field at once, what options does it create for our offense? That’s what we’ve tried to figure out,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said.
“[Lamar’s] back there throwing the ball, he’s back there doing other things. Then Joe has to be able to do some other things too if [Lamar’s] throwing the ball. It gets the creative juices flowing for our offensive coaches, and they’ve worked hard at it.”
Jackson can obviously run and make defenders miss. The Heisman Trophy winner did it throughout college, rushing for 4,132 yards and 50 touchdowns in his three seasons.
But in order for fakes to work, it would be beneficial if Flacco could also do more than pass from the pocket. While opponents and fans often sleep on Flacco’s mobility, the 6-foot-6 hurler can build up speed in a hurry.
Jackson is especially dangerous in the red zone because he takes the teeth out of opponents’ pass rush. If they get too far up the field, he can easily find a seam and run into the end zone, as he showed during Tuesday’s practice.
Harbaugh also alluded to the fact that the Ravens want to be careful not to get either quarterback injured running trick plays. But if Jackson’s going to be active on gamedays, which Harbaugh expects, then Baltimore wants to find ways to utilize his unique talent.
Here are other news and notes from Tuesday’s first minicamp practice:
- Veteran outside linebacker Terrell Suggs practiced with the team for the first time this offseason and he still looks like a machine at 35 years old. Suggs eased his way into practice, but his presence was immediately felt with his boisterous, funny personality. He particularly likes to yell (and curse) at the offense for its mistakes, which incites some chuckles.
- Players missing due to injury were offensive lineman Alex Lewis (back), guard Marshal Yanda (ankle), tight end/wide receiver Vince Mayle (unknown), wide receiver Quincy Adeboyejo (leg), cornerback Jimmy Smith (Achilles), cornerback Maurice Canady (unknown), cornerback Jaylen Hill (knee), defensive back Anthony Levine (foot) and linebacker Bam Bradley (knee).
- Harbaugh said Lewis is dealing with back spasms suffered while in the weight room and the Ravens wanted to be cautious. Lewis is expected back by training camp, if not sooner.
- Second-year guard Nico Siragusa is back on the field and has no limitations, per Harbaugh. Coming off a major knee injury suffered at the start of last year’s training camp, the Ravens are still easing him in with limited reps, however.
- The Ravens continue to shuffle their offensive line as they get a look at how players handle different positions. On Tuesday, the first-team offensive line, from left to right, was Ronnie Stanley, Jermaine Eluemunor, Matt Skura, James Hurst and Orlando Brown Jr.
- Second-year outside linebacker Tyus Bowser had the play of the day when he picked off Flacco during 11-on-11 red-zone drills and raced the other way for what would have been about an 85-yard touchdown.
- Safety Eric Weddle also made an extremely difficult interception when he made a diving catch near the sideline. Weddle also had a diving pass breakup earlier in the practice. He’s enjoying the additional freedom afforded in new Defensive Coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale’s scheme.
- Wide receiver Breshad Perriman had a drop during 11-on-11 work on a pass to the sideline that should have moved the chains. Perriman hasn’t yet replicated the strong offseason he had last year around this time.
- Kamalei Correa worked at outside linebacker and looked quite explosive. He’s physically sculpted this year and seems best suited for “attack mode” off the edge. He can also drop well and drew praise from Weddle on one play for his communication in pass coverage.
- With Correa lined up outside, the Ravens experimented with undrafted rookie defensive end Myles Humphrey at inside linebacker. He’s a player to keep an eye on.
- Quarterback Robert Griffin III throws within the pocket the vast majority of the time, but he flashed his wheels on one play during 11-on-11 work. He’s still really fast and agile.