Ravens experimenting with two-QB sets to get Lamar Jackson on the field more
Jackson has apparently been wildly impressive during Ravens minicamp
For the last decade, the Baltimore Ravens have been quarterbacked by Joe Flacco. The Ravens selected him out of Delaware with the No. 18 overall pick in 2008, and he's started all but six of the Ravens' games ever since. He won Baltimore a Super Bowl back in 2012, but he's struggled since that point, and has been particularly bad over the last couple years.
And so, in his last draft running the team, general manager Ozzie Newsome traded up, down, forwards, backwards, and sideways and eventually landed the No. 32 overall pick, which he used on Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson. Given Flacco's declining play and contract status (the Ravens can save $10.5 million by cutting Flacco after the 2018 season, and $18.5 million if they designate him a post-June 1 release), it seems likely that the Jackson era will be upon us sooner rather than later, no matter what happens this year.
But Jackson has already been so impressive during OTAs and minicamp thatand comparing him to a young Michael Vick, while the coaching staff is dreaming up more ways to get him on the field. That includes using two-quarterback sets, according to coach John Harbaugh.
"Gosh, I sure like him out there helping us," Harbaugh said, per ESPN.com. "If you put two quarterbacks on the field at once, what options does it create for our offense? That's what we're trying to figure out."
Jackson was easily the most athletic and fastest quarterback in this year's draft, and maybe in quite some time. He's so athletic that some teams wanted him to work out as a wide receiver. Jackson turned that down, because, well, he's a first-round quarterback prospect, so why on earth would he need to play another position? The Ravens insisted after the draft that they see Jackson strictly as a quarterback as well, but they're also using him to run the ball in some practices.
"I have a lot of fun seeing what they come up with and what they're going to come up with next," Jackson said. "We'll see where it goes. You have to use your good players."
A pretty easy way to make sure Jackson gets on the field is to just play him at quarterback. That's where this is heading eventually, anyway, but the team may be hesitant to bench its longtime starter for a rookie. The upside with Jackson is certainly significantly higher than it is with Flacco, though, and with a Ravens team that should once again have one of the NFL's best defenses, that could be enough to push them forward in the AFC North race.
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