Three preseason games, five weeks and hundreds of training camp throws still separate Lamar Jackson from Week 1, but it’s not hard to imagine what the Ravens quarterback will look like come Sept. 11.
Through a week and a half of training camp, Jackson has been more consistently accurate than he’s ever been over five summers in Baltimore, and his range as a passer has never been greater. Even with the Ravens’ top wide receiver, Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, traded this offseason, and their top left tackle, Ronnie Stanley, still not cleared to practice, Jackson has inspired rave reviews from coaches and teammates.
“He’s throwing it probably better than I’ve ever seen him throw it,” offensive coordinator Greg Roman said last week. “He’s really worked hard in the offseason, and it’s showing, so he’s got to build on that. It’s really exciting. We’re all very excited about that. And now we’ve all got to get on the same page, so we can function as a unit and … take every ounce of that performance and maximize it.”
Under the Ravens’ reporting guidelines for training camp, only so much of the offense’s shape and structure can be shared. But Jackson’s offseason improvements have flashed in one highlight after another throughout the team’s nine practices in Owings Mill and inside M&T Bank Stadium.
Roman has said that Jackson’s refined passing ability could change how he calls the game. But it could also change how Jackson himself attacks defenses. Here’s a look at some of Jackson’s best throws of camp, and what they could portend for the season ahead.
Back-shoulder throw to Devin Duvernay
On the first day of camp, Jackson introduced himself to the defense with a pinpoint throw to Duvernay in 11-on-11 action. With blitzing inside linebacker Kristian Welch bearing down on him, Jackson reached the end of his three-step drop, swiveled to his right and fired toward Duvernay.
Cornerback Kevon Seymour was running step for step with the third-year wideout, but he didn’t turn his head until it was too late. Jackson put his back-shoulder throw where only Duvernay could get it. As he tipped out of bounds, Duvernay reached back for the ball, got both feet inbounds and secured the first-down catch.
“Those things are points of emphasis for Lamar in the offseason,” coach John Harbaugh said. “To see him come in and make those throws is really a positive thing for us. We just have to keep building on it.”
Jackson didn’t attempt a single back-shoulder fade last season, according to Sports Info Solutions. Backup Tyler Huntley attempted just one. Elsewhere in the AFC North, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger threw 17, and the Cincinnati Bengals’ Joe Burrow 10.
The throw could be an enticing option for Jackson this season, especially with the 6-foot-1 Rashod Bateman replacing the diminutive Brown as the Ravens’ top outside receiver. If opposing defenses have to commit a safety to stopping the Ravens’ rushing attack, Jackson should have more opportunities to attack cornerbacks left alone in coverage.
Blitz beater to Tylan Wallace
Even …read more
Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment