Despite somewhat popular opinion, Baltimore has a solid quarterback situation heading into the 2019 NFL season.
The group is headed by second-year quarterback Lamar Jackson. Jackson helped lead the Ravens from a measly 4-5 record to a playoff berth, by winning the AFC North, after taking over for an injured Joe Flacco.
Despite going 6-1 as a starter in the regular season and giving Baltimore their first playoff appearance since 2014, Jackson has been a target of extreme criticism this offseason. This criticism stems from Jackson’s accuracy, or sometimes lack thereof, as a passer. Combine Jackson’s questionable accuracy with his high number of rushing attempts and fumbles last season and you wind up with overwhelmingly negative opinions of the 22-year-old quarterback.
Jackson deserves the same room for growth as every other second-year quarterback, especially since this is his first offseason as the starter in a rebuilt and retooled offense under new offensive coordinator Greg Roman. It’s no secret that Jackson’s number of rushes per game must come down as the franchise quarterback, but his legs are what make him so special, both in and out of the pocket. With a little refinement to his accuracy and mechanics, which has already been documented this offseason, Jackson can become one of the most dangerous players in the entire league.
Backing him up is veteran Robert Griffin III. Griffin was very similar to Jackson when he entered the NFL, but injuries soon derailed his once promising career that began in Washington. Griffin has embraced the mentor role to Jackson, even cautioning him about his running style and how to avoid unnecessary hits.
Griffin’s play style and natural athletic ability allows him to seamlessly plug into a Jackson-built offense, which we saw at times last season. General Manager Eric DeCosta and Head Coach John Harbaugh clearly have a vision for the Ravens’ offense going forward and Griffin fits that mold.
Following the trend is third-string rookie quarterback Trace McSorley. McSorley was selected out Penn State with Baltimore’s sixth round and final draft pick. Similar to both Jackson and Griffin, McSorley is an uber athletic quarterback who struggles with accuracy.
Despite being third on the depth chart, McSorley has a chance to find himself active during games this season. Comparisons to New Orleans’ quarterback Taysom Hill have been made, and for good reason. Hill is an extremely talented and versatile athlete who was used in a variety of ways last season for the Saints. Two quarterback formations are an option with McSorley and Jackson, it just depends on how creative Roman wants to be. McSorley has other ways to make his mark, however, such as a punt returner or even on defense as once suggested by Harbaugh.
While there is uncertainty regarding Jackson’s development, Griffin’s durability, and McSorley’s translation to the NFL, there is no denying the talent the Ravens have at the quarterback position.