This is a Lamar Jackson story, but it’s not about his contract.
No, this time around, it’s about Jackson’s arm — specifically, it’s about potential improvements Jackson has made coming into training camp. His offensive coordinator, Greg Roman, believes it could open the door to a whole new world for Baltimore.
“I think it’s the best I’ve ever seen him throw it thus far,” Roman said Friday. “What are we, three days in? And he’s probably throwing it better than I’ve ever seen him throw it. He’s really worked hard in the offseason and it’s showing. So we’ve just got to build on that. It’s really exciting, and we’re all very excited.”
Training camp is traditionally peak optimism season, and there’s no shortage of it in Baltimore, where the Ravens believe they’re equipped to make a run at a title and Jackson — contract extension or not — will be the one to lead them there. They’re feeling even better about the quarterback after the first few days of camp, with Roman gushing about Jackson’s physical changes, so much that he even noticed it in — wait for it — his handshake.
“When I shake his hand, it feels a little different,” Roman said, via ESPN’s Jamison Hensley when describing the physical results of Jackson’s offseason training.
Much of this should and will prompt eye rolls, but if there’s a substantial truth to this seeming hyperbole, it truly would bode well for the Ravens. Jackson has long been a uniquely talented, game-breaker of a quarterback, but his passing hasn’t been as consistently elite as others at his position. When the rush lanes are taken from him, Jackson is forced to throw, and while he does let a few highlights rip with each week, he’s not quite feared through the air like Patrick Mahomes or Aaron Rodgers.
If this is the beginning of a change for the better in that department, well, watch out. Miami stunned the football world by bottling up Jackson and stifling Baltimore’s offense on a Thursday night in Florida last season, but if new-and-improved Jackson isn’t just a marketing ploy, that likely won’t be the case for many opponents in the future — which means the Ravens might end up finally capitalizing on Jackson’s talents after all.
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