When the Baltimore Ravens drafted Lamar Jackson most people assumed he’d take over for Joe Flacco one day. Now it seems the pair may play together in 2018.
Some Ravens fans might have accused the team’s offense of being a little boring over the last several seasons. If John Harbaugh’s latest plans come to fruition, no one will be able to say that in 2018. Baltimore is currently experimenting with the idea of playing both Joe Flacco and Lamar Jackson in certain formations next season.
Some teams viewed Jackson as more of an athlete than quarterback heading into the draft, but the Ravens have made it clear they see his future as a signal caller. That’s why it’s surprised more than a few team observers to see Flacco and Jackson on the field together during the team’s minicamp.
Harbaugh isn’t making any promises as to how much of this package he’ll utilize in the regular season, but he does like the fact that it “gets the creative juices flowing” for his offensive coaches. The Ravens coach admits that the entire idea is still in its infancy.
The real challenge for the coaching staff is finding something for Flacco to do if he isn’t going to throw the ball. Jackson’s versatility makes it pretty easy for them to find a way to make the opposing defense pay attention to him. If he splits out wide then a defensive back has to go with him to honor his speed. Even faking handoffs to him in the backfield will force a defender to commit to making the tackle.
It’s highly unlikely a defense is going to panic if Flacco goes sprinting out to the slot position. He isn’t a dynamic enough athlete to really threaten defenses on the perimeter at this stage of his career. It’s still safe to expect that he’ll be used almost exclusively as a conventional quarterback even if Jackson is on the field with him.
If nothing else, putting in a package to use both quarterbacks at once will give opposing defenses one more thing to game plan against. It also will help Jackson feel connected to the team even if he doesn’t beat Flacco out for the starting quarterback job. That might actually be the best thing this wild idea does for the Ravens this season.
Time will tell if the idea of playing two quarterbacks at once is a wild idea by the Ravens coaching staff or a viable philosophy moving forward. Don’t expect it to produce massive yards with Flacco and Jackson, but it could provide a template for other teams with a pair of athletic quarterbacks to utilize in the future.