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.