The sight of Lamar Jackson completing passes to an assortment of receivers during OTAs on Wednesday was just a small sample of what the Ravens envision happening this fall.
Baltimore wants its passing game to be more diverse and lethal, able to attack opposing defenses with more consistency through the air. Speaking to the media for the first time since the Ravens signed Sammy Watkins and drafted Rashod Bateman (first round) and Tylan Wallace (fourth round), Jackson said he fully endorsed the offseason acquisitions.
"I feel great about the moves," Jackson said. "We got a lot of young guys, we've got some vets in the O-line. I just can't wait to put the pads on to go against other opponents and show off our skills. Right now, everyone's rolling and we're happy to get back. The new guys are happy to be here. We'll see."
Baltimore's OTAs are giving Bateman and Wallace a chance to meet Jackson for the first time, and to build chemistry with him both on and off the field. As the leader of the offense, Jackson's presence at OTAs is important, just another sign of his determination to improve despite so much early success in his career.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, second-year wide receivers Devin Duverney and James Proche II never had rookie minicamp in 2020, nor did they have OTAs with Jackson as rookies. Third-year wide receiver Miles Boykin, who had a strong practice session Wednesday, is also benefitting from the extra work with Jackson. It's even Marquise Brown's first OTAs after he missed much of his rookie offseason with a foot injury.
"Second and third-year guys, I really expect those guys to make progress," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "I expect they'll be a lot better at the end of these sessions than they are going in."
If several of Baltimore's young receivers can earn bigger roles, the team's passing offense will have a different look. In 2020, Brown and Mark Andrews combined for 1,470 receiving yards, accounting for more than half of Baltimore's 2,919 receiving yards. While Brown and Andrews may continue to be Jackson's two favorite targets, the Ravens believe they have the potential to attack defenses with more variety in 2021.
Even before OTAs, Jackson was in Florida working out with Brown, and the Ravens' quarterback made a trip to Arizona last month to work out with Brown, Watkins and Andrews. Brown believes the offseason work will pay off.
"We've been gelling good so far," Brown said. "I got with Sammy out in Arizona. Bateman and Wallace, those guys came in and we're all pushing each other, excited to work with each other. We're just going to try to complement each other the best we can, go out here and win a Super Bowl."
The Ravens ranked last in the NFL in passing offense last year, but they also had the league's No. 1 rushing attack and made the playoffs for the third straight season. Whether the Ravens pass more frequently in 2021 remains to be seen. But if their aerial attack becomes more efficient and explosive, Brown believes Baltimore will be difficult very to defend.
"Our expectation is to score a lot of points," Brown said. "However we do that, with the least amount of passing attempts or with the most. We want to score as many points as we possibly can.
"I let the outside be the outside when they talk. We're the Ravens. If it's the scheme, if it's the players, that's on us. We're going to get it right. That's why we're out here now, to get it right."