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News & Notes: Lamar Jackson's Designed Runs Aren't Going Away

QB Lamar Jackson
QB Lamar Jackson

Lamar Jackson had 176 carries on his way to setting the NFL single season rushing record by a quarterback last year.

All his carries were not designed, but Jackson's running was a major part of Baltimore's offense. So inquiring minds want to know. Will Jackson's running increase or decrease in 2020?

Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman won't reveal his plans.

"I think we'll all have to wait and find out," Roman said Monday. "That's just something that we can have available every week. [We'll] do a little bit more of it this week [and] a little less of it the next week. That's always on the table."

Versatility is one trait that makes the Ravens' offense so dynamic. They have Jackson's dual-threat ability. They have a plethora of play designs and a deep group of backs run with different styles. Their passing game can strike quickly with Marquise "Hollywood" Brown, or more methodically with their tight ends and possession receivers.

Jackson's unique running ability gives Baltimore something that most teams don't have – a quarterback who is a threat to run for more than 100 yards every week. It makes Baltimore harder to defend and the Ravens don't want to leave Jackson's unique running gifts parked in the garage.

When it comes to how often he will call running plays for Jackson, Roman will keep his options open.

"I also think it's an in-game feel, how the defense is playing, all those different things," Roman said. "We have a pretty good menu when we go into a game, and we can kind of see how the game is going. It's something that we can definitely hang our hat on at times, and other times we won't."

Wink Martindale's Advice for DeShon Elliott

Nobody can blame DeShon Elliott for being excited about his chance to start at safety. His first two NFL seasons have been curtailed by injuries and Elliott wants to make the most of this opportunity.

Elliott was a playmaker in college at Texas with nine career interceptions, and he would love to bring that same dynamic to the Ravens' secondary. However, Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale is helping Elliott resist the temptation to become too aggressive.

"The thing that I was just talking to him about out there today was, 'Just do your job. You don't have to do anything extra and the plays will come to you,'" Martindale said. "I thought he did a nice job. One of the things he wanted to work on was his angles to the football, and he did a really nice job with that Saturday."

Martindale doesn't think Elliott's lack of playing time due to injuries will hamper him. Elliott fractured his forearm in 2018 and suffered a season-ending knee injury last year. However, he has fully recovered and Martindale says Elliott is in great physical condition

"You know, the injuries were really freak injuries that he had before," Martindale said. "He was on track to have a really good year last year, before he got banged up. So, he's just taken another step forward."

Chris Moore Still Expected to be Key on Special Teams

A broken finger has kept wide receiver Chris Moore sidelined for training camp, and he was not on the field Monday for practice.

But Moore's importance as a special teams contributor is well known, and he will be expected to resume that role when he returns. Moore, a fourth-round pick in 2017, is beginning his fifth season with the Ravens.

Moore is in a competition for the sixth, and what could be final, roster spot. Even though he hasn't been on the field, his coach knows what he offers.

"I understand how valuable of a player he is to me, and really to our team," Special Teams Coach Chris Horton said. "I don't have any reservations about where Chris is when the time's right and he's ready to play. Because I know what type of player he is and I think this league has known what type of player Chris Moore is."

No Fans Creates Different Challenges Communicating

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, NFL teams will face the new experience of playing games in front of no fans. While the lack of natural crowd noise will make it easier for quarterbacks to call audibles at the line of scrimmage, players will also need to be more careful when they communicate with each other because it will be easier for opponents to overhear.

"That's one of the first things we started talking about – how the communication is going to be a lot more evident, based on the fact that it's not going to be nearly as loud – especially on the road," Roman said. "But once that ball gets placed and the whistles blows, it's football. And we have to get ready to play some good football."

Roman wants smoother offensive execution than what he saw during Saturday's M&T Bank Stadium scrimmage, when the Ravens had several pre-snap penalties.

"I certainly didn't like the false-start penalties and the unforced errors that we had," Roman said. "(They were) great learning opportunities for us as coaches to point out how winning football takes place."

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