Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson talks new wrinkles to offense, strategy before training camp

OWINGS MILLS — Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson would embrace working out with his wide receivers before training camp … as long as the sessions take place on his home turf.

“I would love to do that, but some guys don’t want to leave their state,” Jackson said. “They’re going to have to come to South Florida. They’re going to have to do it. We have to. … we have to build chemistry.”

He later added: “[The] offseason is really over for me. I’m focusing on the season and what’s ahead.” 

The Ravens finished their offseason workouts with the close of mandatory minicamp on Thursday. The team practiced for about 2 1/2 hours on each of the three days of camp. On Thursday, they didn’t wear helmets on a hot and humid day.

Jackson was mostly sharp but did throw several interceptions over the week. Quarterback coach Tee Martin expected some mistakes as the team adds more elements to the offense.

“It’s [like] keys to the Ferrari, right? You’re not going to give a guy keys to the Ferrari and tell him to do 30 [miles per hour], and so that’s really what it is. Sometimes as coaches, you can’t be scared when they make mistakes, and you can’t allow the mistakes that they make to put fear in your heart for not calling that play the next time, because without that, there is no growth,” Martin said. “With Lamar, I tell him, ‘Hey man, No. 1, whatever hits your brain first, we’re going to live with it, and as long as we’re all on the same page, it’s not a wrong call. It’s not a bad call.’

“So, that’s where it starts, and that gives him the confidence and freedom to go out there and confidently do what he wants to do, and as long as they believe in him and whatever call he makes, I think we have a higher chance of executing.”

One of the new wrinkles to the offense is adding more cadence to the offense. It’s expected to provide another challenge for opponents who won’t know when the Ravens are going to snap the ball. The Ravens are also planning to go with a non-verbal cadence when they are on the road and crowd noise can affect communication.

The changes in cadence are another work in progress.

“You can’t have cadence as a tool unless you do it and go through the growing pains of it,” Martin said. “Guys are going to jump offsides here and there. With the amount of communication we’re doing up front, with the amount of play changing we’re doing up front, it’s going to come with some of that, but we have to have that in our division, especially for home games with the pass rushers that we’re facing – not only just in our division but throughout the AFC – and the guys we’re playing when you look at our schedule.”

Jackson added: “My cadence has been pretty good, I believe. I haven’t heard anything about it. But right now, for the new terminology, it’s been going well. It’s been getting better – just studying and repetition.”

Last season, Jackson won his second NFL MVP award after throwing for 3,678 yards and 24 touchdowns with career highs in completion percentage (67.2) and yards per completion (8) over 16 regular-season games. He also led the Ravens with 821 yards rushing, averaging 5.5 yards per carry and five scores.

At this point in his career, Jackson is being judged on being able to win championships, not individual awards. He understands that dynamic.

“We’re trying to get to the Super Bowl, and for us to do that, we have to grind,” Jackson said.


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