Lamar Jackson will spend time under center in 2021

Baltimore Ravens v Cleveland Browns
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In three NFL seasons, Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson has operated almost exclusively (if not entirely exclusively) out of the pistol formation. That will change in 2021.

Via Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com, Baltimore’s offense will include plays with Jackson starting under center.

Offensive coordinator Greg Roman told reporters on Wednesday that, indeed, the change is coming to the team’s approach.

“That is definitely going to be a part of what we do this year — the percentage of which I cannot state at this point,” Roman said. “I don’t know the extent of it. But we are working on it and evaluating it every day.”

It sounds like it won’t be a gimmick or a short-yardage-only feature of the offense.

“It’s something we will certainly use from time to time, some games more than others,” Roman said. “I believe it’s a very important part in the development of a quarterback from a forward standpoint.”

He’s right, and that raises an important question. Why hasn’t Roman done it sooner?

Roman has received increasing criticism for the one-dimensional nature of the offense, and there’s increasing pressure on the Roman and the team to develop Jackson as a passer. It’s easier, obviously, to pass from shotgun formation. But play-action passing, which entails the quarterback faking a handoff and then dropping back to throw, can be highly effective.

It’s also not easy. Selling the fake entails the quarterback turning his back to the defense, long enough for things to be very different once his eyes return to the other side of the ball. That’s when the experiment will be tested the most, and when Jackson will be doing at the NFL level something he’s never done before.

36 responses to “Lamar Jackson will spend time under center in 2021

  1. The Bills held the Ravens to 3 points in the playoffs last year. Every D Coordinator with the Ravens on their schedule has watched that film to see how the Bills shutdown the Ravens Offense. Roman has been around long enough to know his offense has to evolve or it will be contained.

  2. The turning of the back to the defense issue is not much more of a problem in play action as with the pistol or shotgun. In the pistol and shotgun the quarterback must watch the ball into his hands, thus averting his eyes from the defense.

    It would be interesting to see a comparison of the time the quarterback’s back is turned in play action vis-a-vis the time his eyes watch the ball in the pistol and shotgun.

  3. I expect Lamar Jackson to have another MVP season on his way to leading the Ravens to the championship.

  4. It’s about time. If the Ravens are going to commit massive money to keep Lamar Jackson they need him to become more of a complete quarterback. Greg Roman is so in love with his system that he his QBs in the past start hitting walls. Lamar has the talent to break through where Kaepernick and Tyrod Taylor couldn’t. Roman needs to put the ego aside and help grow Lamar or the Ravens need someone instead of Roman who will.

  5. Jackson has spent the first part of his NFL career with his eyes forward which allows him to avoid big hits because of his reaction time and incredible elusiveness. He is truly a talent. If he turns his back to the play, his greatest asset is lost. Yes it will allow him to make some big plays down field, but it will only take one d-lineman or linebacker to get through to potentially change his entire career forever. With the Steelers and Browns both having good front 7s that have spent the better part of the last 3 years chasing Jackson, the opportunity to put a clean but very hard hit on him will be too much to resist. This isn’t a good long term strategy for the Ravens.

  6. I like QBs who’re pure passers but you can’t deny he’s had an impact in the NFL basically as a running back who can hoist the ball pretty well.

    Can’t say I’ll go out of my way to watch him, but good for him!

  7. I don’t know that I’ve ever heard of an NFL QB taking his first snaps under center going into his fourth year of starting. He’s been so good at what he does even though its limited in scope. However, its clear they need to add a dimension to his game to go deep into the playoffs. As an NFL fan, its going to be fun to watch how he progresses. As a Browns fan, I hope it doesn’t work to well because the kid is already lethal at what he does.

  8. He couldn’t hit water if he fell off a boat. Now he is going to be asked to do 3, 5, 7 foot drop backs? Good luck!!

  9. Selling the fake also puts the defense in an unsure position too. So there is that atvantage for the offense. I think Lamar can do it. Roman needs to coach it up.

  10. Well Lamar, you picked an odd time to start trying to be an NFL quarterback. Most people start um, sooner…

  11. Ah ha!

    The Ravens getting wise seeing how predictable Brady’s shotgun spread addiction was from 2007-2013 before BB drafted Gaoroppolo.

    As much as I hate the Ravens and eveything they stand for, this is the right move.

    It’s also a litmus test before his contract comes, and if it does come.

  12. The answer to why didn’t they do this before is simple. They didn’t need to. For the most part Lamar’s tuck and run routine was working well enough to get them where they needed to be his first season and a half.

    Now that they had a season where they struggled against any team they played who had a winning record and barely made the playoffs, having a QB that got outplayed in a QB skills competition challenge by a wide receiver isn’t going to cut it. Defensive Coordinators have enough tape on Lamar that if they have the right personnel he’s a non factor as Buffalo showed the world in the playoffs.

  13. Greg Roman is on the hot seat. He has an MVP duel threat QB, solid RB tandem & O-line, and now plenty of WR/TE to work with. He’s about a year late, but it’s about time he evolves this offense.

  14. Should’ve started doing this in yr 2. Roman sucks. The OFFENSE is too predictable despite the QB being GREAT. Seems like they will always be chasing where the other good QB/Offensive Coordinators are that are winning like Andy Reid/Bieniemy/Mahomes and…well the Chiefs and Bills and Rams. The 1st thing Bieniemy worked on with Mahomes coming out of college was teaching him to go under center. Mahomes was an exclusive shot gun QB at Texas Tech. That was 4 yrs, two SB’s with one win, one league MVP, and one SB MVP, and 1/2 billion dollar contract ago.

    Not rocket science. Roman has derailed Lamar’s development. Also all of the commenters saying Lamar is a RB are stupid or worse. Lamar Jackson has ALWAYS been a great QB.

  15. He does need to learn how to play QB before they commit big money to him.

  16. touchback6 says:
    June 3, 2021 at 9:05 am
    Ah ha!

    The Ravens getting wise seeing how predictable Brady’s shotgun spread addiction was from 2007-2013 before BB drafted Gaoroppolo.

    ——-

    You mean 2007 when the Patriots had the #1 scoring offense of all time? The same year Brady left the game with the Pats leading by 4?

  17. Isn’t he supposed to be a quarterback and not a running back. Play the position, dude.

  18. I expect Lamar to have another MVP caliber year on his way to leading his team to another early exit in the playoffs.

  19. Harbaugh is a genius. Something wrong with the offense or defense is the coordinators fault, fire coordinator, rinse and repeat.

    Lamar is Steph Curry
    Harbaugh is Mark Jackson
    Ravens need Steve Kerr

    Just my opinion

  20. It’s hilarious seeing people blame Roman for Jackson’s limitations. Roman has done a tremendous job tailoring the offense to exploit Jackson’s great strength (running) and limiting exposure to Jackson’s weakness (passing). There is a reason Roman runs a simple offense–his QB.

  21. In two and a half years of starting at QB, Lamar has a 34-12 record. He has a 64% completion rate and 68 passing TDs to go along with his 19 rushing TDs and being the only QB ever to rush for two thousand-yard seasons. In his second year, he was league MVP, led the league in passing TDs and during that season had three games where he passed for 5 TDs with no INTs. He didn’t play the fourth quarter in many of those blowouts.

    Yeah, the numbers don’t lie, he’s a terrible quarterback and should immediately quit.
    LOL you people need to start watching football.

  22. In two and a half years of starting at QB, Lamar has a 34-12 record. He has a 64% completion rate and 68 passing TDs to go along with his 19 rushing TDs and being the only QB ever to rush for two thousand-yard seasons. In his second year, he was league MVP, led the league in passing TDs and during that season had three games where he passed for 5 TDs with no INTs. He didn’t play the fourth quarter in many of those blowouts.

    ———

    And this is exactly why the Ravens should pay him Mahomes level money. Time for the Ravens to put their money where their mouth is if they love their QB so much.

  23. Why they haven’t done it so far isn’t about turning his back, its about his feet. If you watch Lamar he sucks at running 3 and 5 step drops because he refuses to release the ball on time. Marty tried to put him in a pro style offense every few plays and it led to alot of fumbles. If You get under center run a short drop and hold the ball its trouble, but the Ravens need to figure it out bc most good defenses in january can easily stop the shotgun draw, pistol action plays

  24. …and from under center he can run qb sneaks. He just cannot pass accurately from the pocket unless its a receiver running wide open right in front of him. .

  25. formerlyflaccodelic says:
    June 3, 2021 at 1:12 pm
    In two and a half years of starting at QB, Lamar has a 34-12 record. He has a 64% completion rate and 68 passing TDs to go along with his 19 rushing TDs and being the only QB ever to rush for two thousand-yard seasons. In his second year, he was league MVP, led the league in passing TDs and during that season had three games where he passed for 5 TDs with no INTs. He didn’t play the fourth quarter in many of those blowouts.

    Yeah, the numbers don’t lie, he’s a terrible quarterback and should immediately quit.
    LOL you people need to start watching football.

    ______________________

    Bottom ten in the league in pass attempts and the QB’s he has more attempts than are all backups. Also near the bottom in yards per attempt. Let’s be real, I’d have strikes all the time in bowling if I just ran the ball down the lane until I’m a foot away from the pins then rolled it, doesn’t make me a great bowler. Same goes for the QB position. He’s basically Johnny Manziel without the drug and partying habit.

  26. Lamar Jackson ran an offense at Louisville with pro style concepts. In his last 2 seasons there, he had more passing attempts, passing yards and passing yards per game than Trevor Lawrence, the first overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft had in his final 2 seasons at Clemson. This is almost coaching malpractice because Jackson’s Louisville Pro Day was staged with all throws from under a center. So the Ravens had something to work with from the very beginning but chose not to develop it. Jackson has more passing records than any QB that could be called a running back.

  27. The cognitive dissonance in the criticism of Lamar Jackson in his 3 year career is beyond the pale. He has a higher QB rating, completion percentage, yards per attempt, TD pass percentage and TD to Int percentage than the G.O.A.T. Tom Brady.

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