The Ravens blew out the Bills so easily on Sunday that they probably could have won doing just about anything they wanted, but the game provided a glimpse of how Baltimore plans to use both quarterback Joe Flacco and his athletic rookie backup, Lamar Jackson.
Jackson got the ball once on the Ravens’ first offensive series, taking a direct snap while Flacco was split out wide and running up the middle. Later in the first quarter he took another snap and threw a pass. Although Jackson’s run didn’t gain any yardage and his pass was incomplete, he’s hoping his presence is making opposing defenses notice.
“They never know what’s going to happen,” Jackson said. “Yeah, it keeps the defense guessing.”
Ravens coach John Harbaugh made clear, however, that Jackson needs to do more than just keep defenses guessing. He needs to move the ball.
“Well, we wanted to establish him as a threat quickly, not a possible threat. We wanted him to go out there and make plays, and generate plays for us,” Harbaugh said. “The whole idea is to generate offense. I guess a side benefit of it is that people have to prepare for certain things. Of course, that’s part of it. I’m not going to say that’s not part of it. But really, the idea is to move the football and create plays, and like we said from the beginning, use all weapons. That’s what we’re trying to do with all of our guys really, and Lamar is one of those guys.”
Once the Ravens had a 40-0 lead, Jackson replaced Flacco at quarterback and managed to lead one more touchdown drive. Jackson showed some flash, but he certainly didn’t do anything that would suggest he’s going to be replacing Flacco as the starter any time soon. Instead, he’ll get some snaps alongside Flacco, and defenses will be guessing about when those snaps will come.