Ravens head coach John Harbaugh’s new contract was just one of many topics up for discussion at Friday’s press conference and the biggest might have been the team’s plans for quarterback Lamar Jackson.
Jackson took over after Joe Flacco hurt his hip and the Ravens went 6-1 down the stretch to qualify for the playoffs. Their offense over that period was heavily reliant on Jackson as a runner and Harbaugh was asked about the injury risk involved in going that direction.
Harbaugh said the 2019 offense is “going to be very diverse” and will include things that weren’t part of the package this year. He also said that Jackson is still going to run the ball.
“Every player is one play away from being hurt, and every quarterback standing in the pocket is one hit away from being hurt, too,” Harbaugh said. “The fact that he gets out and runs and scrambles … I get it. I think it’s fair to consider that, but you can’t live your life in fear. I think there’s just as much fear on the other side as he’s going to take the thing to the house if he gets out and runs too. So we’ll live in that world as opposed to the other world.”
Harbaugh said that the change to Greg Roman at offensive coordinator was because he wanted to center the offense around the run game. He added that Jackson is going to be doing a lot of work on the passing side of things before next season as well.
“He’s going to work at it really hard,” Harbaugh said. “Who he works with, or where he works it, I’ll leave that to him to answer if he wants to answer. But I’m quite sure that he’ll be working at it really hard, and he already is. Throughout the course of the offseason he’s going to throw the ball a lot. … I expect him to come back a better quarterback skill-wise than he was when he left. He’s determined to do that.”
Harbaugh’s new contract runs through 2022 and Jackson’s development will be a major factor if his stay in Baltimore will extend beyond that point.