In an era of football where high scoring offenses led by pocket-passing quarterbacks reign supreme, the Baltimore Ravens are taking an old school approach with Lamar Jackson.
With speed like a receiver and the intuition to take matters into his own hands, Jackson's 147 rushing attempts for 695 yards in 2018 set the record for most attempts by a quarterback in a single season since the 1970 merger and earned him the QB1 title.
The question among talking heads, however, is how long a run-heavy style of offense will work in a league where defenders are bigger and stronger than ever.
For the Ravens front office and coaching staff, it's not even a question. The team has begun shaping their offense around Jackson's style, starting with promoting former assistant head coach and tight ends coach Greg Roman to offensive coordinator.
And for head coach John Harbaugh, going back to this style of offense is simply revolution.
"I mean, to me it's on us as coaches," Harbaugh said on the Pardon My Take podcast. "Like our job is to make sure that we do everything we can to create this offense that, I would say, that well, the league has never seen before since like 1950. So, like what comes around goes around. It's not evolution, it's revolution. So, there's nothing new. Nothing ever new."
But like in any healthy relationship, Jackson will have to make compromises as well. How much the Ravens are willing to reshape their offense is "like 50/50," according to Harbaugh.
"The other part of it's him, too," Harbaugh added. "The thing I like about Lamar is he's a motivated guy. He knows he's a quarterback and he's not gonna be told that he's not a quarterback. And all the naysayers out there that want to sit here and say, 'dude you're not a quarterback' he's gonna be like, 'we'll see. We'll see about that.' He's a major competitor. He's gonna do everything he can do to be the best quarterback he can be. He's gonna be able to throw the ball just fine. Also, when he takes off running, you know what I mean, you better be ready for that too. So, that's gonna open up the whole offense."
For now, the Ravens won't be consulting Jackson on who they draft in 2019, but adding playmakers like wide receiver D.K. Metcalf out of Ole Miss or N’Keal Harry of Arizona State to develop with Jackson is of importance.
“We’ve got to add playmakers … guys that can work with Lamar, take some of the burden off of Lamar and make plays in critical situations," general manager Eric DeCosta said last week at the NFL Combine. "That will always be a priority for us, I think, going forward and something we hope to do this year.”
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