Offensive Coordinator Marty Mornhinweg came up with the idea earlier in the week to give Jackson all the 11-on-11 reps at the end of camp as a test for the first-round pick.
To be clear, it has nothing to do with Joe Flacco’s play this offseason (which has been strong) or his status as the starter. The Ravens just wanted to get the rookie more reps.
“He ran almost the whole practice today, and that’s a big step in the right direction,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said.
“He responded well. I think we had one timeout we had to call, which isn’t too bad for a rookie running the whole practice. He got the plays called. He competed, completed some passes as much as you can.”
Jackson’s best throw may have been about a 20-yard out to wide receiver Willie Snead IV. Jackson had to loop the ball over a dropping linebacker’s head, yet put enough stem on the pass to get it to the sideline. He hit Snead perfectly in stride.
Jackson also ended the day by zipping a pass on the run to receiver Chris Moore in tight coverage during red-zone work for what would have been a touchdown.
He continued to display a pretty deep ball and his mechanics have improved, which has led to better zip and accuracy on his passes when compared to rookie minicamp in April.
Jackson is progressing well. Mink also noted that Lamar has made great strides with his playcalling after gaining familiarity with the playbook.
His mood was light, his waste lean and his arms rippled with muscle. He certainly wasn’t declaring this his last ride, not after he made his seventh Pro Bowl last season.
“I’ll never do that,” he said in his first comments since the final game of 2017. “I don’t think I’ll ever be able to say that: Going in, this will be my [last]. Nah. It’ll probably be one day, I’ll just wake up. But I don’t think I’ll ever not love it. I didn’t choose this. I was born, and this is what I am.”
The Hall of Fame questions have become more frequent as well. Suggs watched one longtime teammate, left tackle Jonathan Ogden, enter in 2013. Another, linebacker Ray Lewis, will go in this summer. Safety Ed Reed could join them as soon as next year. These were the men he looked up to as a young player.
“They never really chased Hall of Fame,” Suggs said. “There was nothing more important than what they were doing at the moment. I can’t practice every practice or play every play like, ‘Oh, I’m trying to get in the Hall of Fame.’ No, there’s something more important at the moment that I’m doing.”
The shocking Week 17 loss to Cincinnati has seemingly fueled Suggs’ competitive fire. The 15-year veteran has cemented his place on the Ravens Mt. Rushmore alongside the aforementioned Jonathan Ogden, Ray Lewis and Ed Reed.
Last year’s battle through injuries and fourth-and-12 finale was especially taxing, leading to a “long offseason.”
“Just physically, mentally, it took much longer for me to recuperate after the season,” Weddle said Wednesday. “It was hard just to get up every day, honestly, to go out and do the things necessary to try to be at your best.”
Weddle says he “got over the hill” about two weeks before the team returned for the offseason strength and conditioning program in April.
“I haven’t looked back since,” Weddle said. “It was all worth those hard days to be where I’m at now. I feel amazing out there running around now.”
So what has Weddle re-energized? Chalk it up, at least in part, to his coaches.
Weddle pointed to new Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale’s new scheme, which has empowered veterans such as himself to make changes based on the offensive formation before the snap. Weddle was also consulted in crafting the scheme and terminology this offseason.
“[Martindale is] expanding it and giving the guys confidence to play fast and to do what is best for the defense – not what’s best for the individual,” Weddle said. “I expect to not only have my best year, but as a defense to really control and to manipulate and to make big plays as a defense, even more so than we have in the past.”
Coordinator Martindale’s willingness to tailor his scheme to the Ravens personnel could help the team field a top-five defense in 2018.
Take it to the Bank Podcast
A preview of the Week 3 matchup against Denver, breakdown of DeShon Elliott‘s college film, AFC North running back rankings and a critique of the Ravens organizational philosophy.