Lamar Jackson is causing tongues to wag around the Baltimore Ravens training camp. John Harbaugh is doing his best to calm everyone down.
Any NFL franchise that chooses to draft a quarterback in the first round knows they’re in for a media circus. The Baltimore Ravens are no different. They are, however, trying to quell the talk about Lamar Jackson taking over for Joe Flacco this season.
Harbaugh’s first depth chart certainly doesn’t list Jackson as a starter. In fact, Jackson isn’t even the backup. That honor goes to Robert Griffin III. This is a clear attempt by the Ravens to take some pressure off their rookie signal-caller.
Don’t expect it to really cut down on the media attention aimed at Jackson. The Ravens don’t have the ability to put the toothpaste back in the tube. Jackson has shown too much athletic ability to avoid a lot of media attention.
The team’s recent decision to give him several reps as a slot receiver didn’t do much to keep anyone calm either.
The move is also designed to make sure Jackson’s head doesn’t get too big from reading all of the glowing headlines about him. The worst thing that could happen for the Ravens would be for their rookie quarterback to alienate the veterans on the roster.
Jackson will take over for Flacco eventually, but Harbaugh and company don’t want that to happen before they’re ready.
The upside here is that the team are putting Jackson under some healthy pressure to make sure he continues to progress at a rapid rate. Putting him behind Griffin III on the depth chart will force him to keep his head buried in the offensive playbook.
No one on the Baltimore coaching staff actually thinks Griffin is going to hold off Jackson as the preseason progresses, That doesn’t mean they need to hand him the keys to the offense in late July.
The Ravens’ opening depth chart is just designed to cause everyone to pump the brakes on the Jackson hype train. It probably doesn’t mean anything in the long run, but it’s a reasonable short-term strategy by the team.