Ravens officials are focused on the upcoming NFL Draft, but Lamar Jackson’s improvement this offseason means more than any rookie will in 2019.
Lamar Jackson’s insertion into the lineup keyed the Ravens to a 6-1 run down the stretch of their 2018 campaign. The way in which he sparked the team isn’t sustainable though. Fortunately, Jackson seems to understand that fact.
The second-year pro is open with the need to improve his accuracy this season. Jackson only completed 56.8% of his passes last season which is very poor by NFL standards. That’s precisely why Jackson is working to become “spot on” in his accuracy this offseason.
The former Louisville star is clearly an exceptional runner. That is always going to be a hallmark of his game if he’s going to be a successful starter. He must be much more judicious with when he runs if he’s going to survive a full 16-game season. That means Jackson must find something else he can do successfully.
Fortunately, he’s got above average arm strength for the position. His rookie tape shows him make some really difficult throws. In particular, Jackson flashes an impressive ability to make throws down the field on the run. His challenge last season was making the ordinary throws with the accuracy required to succeed against NFL defenses.
In theory, there’s nothing about Jackson’s game that can’t be improved with proper coaching. His footwork is responsible for a lot of his errant throws, and that’s certainly something he can correct. Jackson may not have the natural talent to complete 70% of his passes, but he doesn’t need to hit that number to be successful. If he can increase his completion percentage to something around 65% it should give the Ravens offense a serious boost.
Part of the formula for helping Jackson increase his accuracy is to provide him a better receiving corps. If he goes into the 2019 season with Willie Snead and Seth Roberts as his starting wide receivers he’s going to struggle against good secondaries. The Ravens desperately need to find him a legitimate No. 1 wide receiver before training camp begins. It’s very possible that will be a high priority for the front office in the upcoming draft.
Ravens fans can take comfort in the fact that their franchise quarterback is working on the right things this offseason. They shouldn’t expect a massive transformation overnight, but incremental success could land Baltimore back in the playoffs this season.