On Sunday, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh mentioned that he’d like to get Lamar Jackson some more snaps as the season goes on. He would reiterate that statement during Monday’s press conference.
“You want to keep your offense in a rhythm,” Harbaugh said of utilizing Jackson in the offensive scheme. “You want to keep your quarterback on the field in a rhythm. But, you have a playmaker — you want to get him [involved]. And, you don’t want to just have him run the ball all the time. He’s not a running back. He’s a quarterback.
“So how many throws can you get him, and how many throws can you get him with Joe [Flacco] being not really a legitimate receiver out there unless they just abandon him?
Jackson has had just 12 passing attempts during the entire season with seven completions. One of those completions was a touchdown pass to tight end Hayden Hurst in mop up duty against the Panthers. The majority of his snaps have resulted in running plays, with him handing it off to the running back, taking it him self, handing off a jet sweep or pitching it in the triple option.
Jackson saw his snaps decrease heavily after the first game against the Bills (30, 37.5% of Baltimore’s snaps) — to just six (7.1%) against the Bengals, two (2.8%) against the Broncos, then going up to nine (11.8%) against the Steelers the first time, then dropping down to five (5.7%) against the Browns, two (2.6%) against the Tennessee Titans, five (7.4%) against the Saints, 14 (20.6%) against the Panthers and 13 (21.3%) against the Steelers in the second game.
Baltimore is 2-2 in games where Jackson gets more than 10% of the snaps. They are 2-3 when he gets fewer than 10% of snaps. There is no direct correlation on which approach works better in getting the win when it comes to numbers, but it does keep teams guessing.
Jackson has provided the threat to pass on Sunday, completing a 12-yard strike to Michael Crabtree. As long as teams are on their toes when it comes to his passing ability, Baltimore
“He’s completed some passes, had a nice one yesterday – a little scramble to the right,” Harbaugh said. “Missed one or two throws – the reverse pass was tough. I didn’t want him to tuck the ball. I wanted him to kind of hold it as a run-pass type of deal, there. Yesterday, we tried a reverse pass, and it just got covered. They played it really well, and he actually got four or five yards on it just by sheer athleticism.”
The 21-year old quarterback has lined up at quarterback in the majority of his snaps. He will occasionally split out wide with Joe Flacco at quarterback. One such instance was Flacco’s missed read to an open Jackson, who would’ve walked into the endzone. Though Jackson provides a dynamic threat as a receiver or anywhere else he touches the ball, Harbaugh still views him as a quarterback first and foremost.
“This guy is a quarterback,” said Harbaugh adamantly. “We’ve said from the beginning, and anybody that wants to dispute that, come to practice like you guys do, or you watch him play. He’s improving all the time. He’s getting better as a quarterback, an NFL quarterback, all the time.”