During Monday’s joint practice with the Philadelphia Eagles, Lamar Jackson connected with tight end Mark Andrews for a touchdown in the back of the end zone.
It was the type of play the Ravens want to carry into games. Baltimore has scored on four of the five drives led by Jackson this preseason, however, only one of those drives ended with a touchdown.
When the Ravens reached the red zone last week against the Green Bay Packers, Jackson’s spectacular 18-yard touchdown run for was nullified by a penalty. Jackson threw incompletions in the red zone intended for Hayden Hurst and Willie Snead IV, respectively, forcing the Ravens to settle for another field goal.
While Jackson has played very well this preseason, he’s been frustrated by the lack of touchdowns, and said settling for fewer field goals this season is a major goal.
Sharpening Jackson’s red zone play is one benefit that can result from the reps he’s getting this week against the Eagles. Outside of the touchdown pass to Andrews, the Eagles were able to keep Jackson and Co. out of the end zone (1-of-4) on Day 1.
“The red zone is tough,” Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh said. “The red zone is faster. Coverage is tighter. Things have to be executed more quickly, more decisively. The windows are going to be closing quicker, and they’re smaller. Timing is really important. Execution is everything. So, for a young quarterback, it’s a fast game as it is, that much faster in the red zone, and that’s where you score points. We can’t be down there kicking too many field goals. We’ll take them, but touchdowns count for a lot more, so that’s the point.”
Jackson had a sharp day throwing the football against the Eagles’ secondary Monday with no interceptions, although the Eagles limited Baltimore’s big plays. It was a good sign that Jackson kept his focus and accuracy during a very hot afternoon.
In other practice observations:
- Several Ravens who began practice did not finish, including offensive guard Jermaine Eluemunor, defensive tackle Gerald Willis and linebacker Otaro Alaka. Eluemunor left practice in the passenger seat of a cart. Running back Mark Ingram and left tackle Ronnie Stanley also spent long periods watching from the sideline. Harbaugh did not have updates on any injuries when asked after practice.
- Andrews continued to practice with swagger, showing his intention to back up his strong rookie season with an even better year. Andrews was taken down hard after making a short catch, but quickly bounced up, gave an Eagles defender a shoulder nudge, then headed downfield and intentionally bumped into another Eagles defender. If you want to play physically against Andrews, he is more than willing to engage.
- Wide receiver Michael Floyd made a contested catch for a touchdown and continued to use his 6-foot-2 height to his advantage. Floyd seems to be getting more comfortable each week, but still faces stiff competition to make the 53-man roster.