Harbaugh and Jackson Plan Offensive Enhancements After Ravens’ AFC Championship Loss

John Harbaugh
John Harbaugh (NFL)

After the Baltimore Ravens lost 17-10 in the AFC Championship Game, head coach John Harbaugh talked with quarterback Lamar Jackson about improving their offense. Jackson suggested they increase the number of audibles he can call at the line of scrimmage to better adjust to changing defenses.

He believes adding more options to their play-calling will help counter teams that change their defense during games. This idea came from Jackson’s growing responsibility in the offense, which began when offensive coordinator Todd Monken gave him more control over the plays last season.

Last season, the Ravens’ offense was highly productive, with Jackson at the helm, ranking fourth in the NFL in scoring with an average of 28.4 points per game. However, they struggled in the AFC title game, scoring a season-low 10 points against the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Ravens faced criticism for their limited rushing attempts against the Chiefs’ run defense, which ranked 18th in the league. Harbaugh noted that Jackson lacked the necessary run-play options to counter Kansas City’s defensive alignments, highlighting the need for better in-game adjustments.

To address these issues, the Ravens’ offseason focus has been on enhancing Jackson’s ability to read defenses and make the appropriate play calls at the line of scrimmage. This includes improving his ability to change plays, protections, and even his cadence before the snap.

Lamar Jackson
Lamar Jackson (NFL)

Tee Martin, the Ravens’ quarterbacks coach, compared Jackson to a smart student who needs constant challenges to stay engaged. The goal is to equip Jackson with the tools to make quick, effective decisions, regardless of the defensive look.

The Ravens have specifically concentrated on improving Jackson’s cadence to keep opposing defenses off-balance. Last season, they were only able to draw defenses offside once, but this spring, they’ve worked on using Jackson’s voice as a weapon to disrupt the pass rush.

Martin praised Jackson’s ability to handle both verbal and non-verbal cadences, which can give the offense an advantage by making the snap timing less predictable for the defense.

Throughout the minicamp, the Ravens’ coaching staff has encouraged Jackson to maintain an aggressive mindset, even at the risk of making mistakes. Martin emphasized the importance of allowing Jackson the freedom to make decisions on the field, likening it to giving a driver the keys to a Ferrari and not limiting their speed.

This approach aims to foster growth and confidence in Jackson, reinforcing that as long as the team is aligned, there are no wrong calls. This philosophy is intended to help the Ravens develop a more dynamic and adaptable offense capable of overcoming the challenges posed by formidable defenses.