In Week 1 last year, the Ravens put up 59 points in an impressive victory that set the tone for a record-breaking offensive season. Lamar Jackson would love to have a similar start to this season, although the preparation leading up to Week 1 has been unique due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Ravens haven't had any preseason games, but Jackson doesn't feel like the team is lagging in its preparation for the Cleveland Browns.
"I feel we're right on schedule with everyone coming together.," Jackson said. "Our offense is flying around great. Our defense is making plays. I just can't wait until the real game comes, show the world."
Jackson developed great chemistry with Marquise "Hollywood" Brown last season, and that was evidenced against the Miami Dolphins when Brown caught touchdown passes from Jackson the first two times he was targeted. Brown was coming off foot surgery and wasn't 100 percent, but now he's fully healthy and also stronger and faster.
Jackson believes a bigger and healthier Brown will be a more explosive Brown. Even Jackson had to adjust to Brown's increased speed, and he's made big plays in training camp even when defended by Pro Bowl corners Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey.
"At one of the scrimmages I underthrew him, threw an interception because he was running so fast," Jackson said. "I just have to work on me, giving him a playable ball for him to run through the passes and score touchdowns.
"He's playing against the best two corners in the game right now. They're making each other better. Last year he was hurt. Right now he's 100, he's doing his thing. I just can't wait to play the Browns."
The Ravens drafted three playmakers who hope to make an immediate impact – wide receivers Devein Duvernay and James Proche II and running back J.K. Dobbins. Jackson believes they've had enough practice time to feel comfortable in the offense.
"I feel like we should hit the field running," Jackson said. "Those guys improved a lot from when we first started, including myself. I just can't wait for you guys to see the rookies. Devin, James, and J.K., those guys have been balling out so far."
Jackson Says His Health is Fine
Jackson missed two straight days of training camp earlier this month, but says nobody should worry about his health heading into this season. He has been practicing regularly since he returned and Jackson said he was 100 percent.
"I was just getting a little maintenance," Jackson said. "It really wasn't nothing major at all. I'm good now, I was good that day. I thought I would practice but they just wanted me to keep it safe, stay in the safe zone because the season's coming up. I'm 100 (percent) right now. I'm good."
Harbaugh Says Preseason Intel Will be Missed
Heading into the regular season without preseason games creates a different dynamic for all coaching staffs around the league. That Ravens open the season against the Browns, who have a new staff led by Head Coach Kevin Stefanski. There will be no preseason tape for the Ravens to study on the Browns, so the Ravens will have to be flexible when trying to get a feel for the Browns.
"You see a lot in preseason," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "You see the players playing. You see the structure of the defense, especially with a new staff. We're going against a completely new staff here, so we don't really know what they're going to play, how they've interpreted their players into the scheme we think they're going to run. It's all a guessing game. I think you miss a lot without seeing the preseason tape."
Harbaugh laughed when it was suggested that maybe he should call someone from Cleveland for help.
"I don't think anybody in Cleveland's going to be talking to the Ravens about what they're doing in practice," Harbaugh said.
Jackson Loves Ravens' Proactive Stance on Social Justice
Jackson is pleased that the Ravens been taken a proactive role in the fight for racial equality and social justice. He says the organization has created an environment where players feeling comfortable expressing their concerns and ideas.
"I'm just happy we have a great owner (Steve Bisciotti) who's on our side, a great coaching staff who's on our side," Jackson said. "I see a lot of policemen who are cool to us football players, but then to someone else our kind, who's not a football player, who's not known, they treat them differently. For our staff to be behind us 100 percent, I love it."