The Ravens have handed the keys to their offense to Lamar Jackson full time heading into 2019, which has prompted concern in some quarters because of Jackson’s eagerness to run the ball.
As the conventional wisdom goes in the NFL, running quarterbacks face more danger and are more prone to injuries than traditional pocket passers.
New Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman begs to differ.
“I think it’s a little overrated, the whole danger thing,” Roman said (via The Baltimore Sun). “Why? Because, and this is empirical data here, over the years, you kind of realize that when a quarterback decides to run, he’s in control. So now [if] he wants to slide, he can slide. If he wants to dive, he can dive, get out of bounds, all of those different things. He can get down, declare himself down.
“A lot of the time, the situations that [have] more danger are when he doesn’t see what’s coming — my eyes are downfield, I’m standing stationary from the pocket, somebody is hitting me from the blind side. My experience, and I kind of learned this, is that when the quarterback takes the ball and starts to run, there’s not a lot of danger involved in that relative to other situations.”
Jackson ran the ball almost as often as he passed last season, with 147 rushing attempts for 695 yards and five touchdowns. He completed 99 of 170 passes for 1,201 yards, with six TDs and three INTs. The Ravens won six of the seven games he started, averaging 25.1 points.
Still, Jackson is looking to improve his accuracy in his second season. And Roman said the 2016 Heisman Trophy winner is still learning when, and when not, to run.
“Last year, for example, was a learning curve for him on how he would handle a [running] situation,” Roman said. “‘Do we really want to take those hits? Why would I cut back against the grain when I could take it out the front door into space?’ All of those things started last year. … I think you have to be very judicious on realizing the big picture.”