Ravens ready to give Lamar Jackson more freedom to run the offense

OWINGS MILLS — The Ravens are giving quarterback Lamar Jackson the “keys” to run the offense, and he is going to be even more involved in the play-calling next season.

Jackson met with coach John Harbaugh days after the 17-10 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game. It brought an end to their season and criticism over their play-calling after they ran the ball only 16 times and Jackson threw a number of long passes that were incomplete.

Harbaugh and Jackson discussed the run game, pass protection, attacking defenses and developing routes for wide receivers against man-to-man and zone coverage.

“You say Lamar has the keys to the offense, now you build the offense, it’s like setting up a car,” Harbaugh said in a season-ending news conference with general manager Eric DeCosta on Friday. “We have to build a car. We have to set the car up. If Lamar’s the driver, he has to be involved in the setup of the car even more. Last year, that wasn’t even possible. This year, he’s going to be involved, and we’ve talked about it. He’s already involved by what we talked about yesterday in setting up that car.

“Now he comes in on the front end, and he’s talking to the guys about how the car is set up, exactly how these things need to be run.”

Harbaugh said there was an adjustment period for Jackson under first-year offensive coordinator Todd Monken. There was a progression throughout the season, and Jackson threw for a career-high 3,678 yards passing with 24 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

Jackson was especially pleased with the way Monken let him change the play at the line of scrimmage. There should be even more comfort with the system next season.

“This year, every day was a new day in the offense right on through the last part of the season,” Harbaugh said. “Next year, it won’t be a new day every single day, and that’s pretty easy to figure out, and it makes sense, right? But it’s real, and I’m looking forward to that process.”

DeCosta also texted Jackson after the Chiefs loss and congratulated him on the season. DeCosta might travel to Florida later this month to talk about the direction of the team.

“I’ll tell you, he’s great about offering suggestions and ideas, and he and I have a great relationship, where we can exchange different ideas on personnel and things,” DeCosta said. “He’s a huge fan of college football, and I appreciate his feedback.”


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