Lamar Jackson wants to 'show off' QB growth in Ravens debut

ByJamison Hensley via ESPN logo
Tuesday, July 31, 2018

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Lamar Jackson will make his preseason debut Thursday, when the Ravens play the Bears in the Hall of Fame Game.

What does the Heisman Trophy winner want to show?

"I'm a quarterback. That's the first thing I want to show off," Jackson said. "Just show the growth, from college to my new chapter of life."

Before being a first-round pick this year, Jackson made it clear that he wouldn't entertain a position switch. He told teams that he would only play quarterback and not participate in wide receiver drills leading up to the draft.

Jackson won the Heisman Trophy in 2016 with 3,543 passing yards and 30 touchdowns to go with 1,571 rushing yards and 21 more touchdowns. This past season, he threw for 3,660 yards with 27 touchdowns to go with 1,601 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns.

With the Ravens, Jackson has been inconsistent, hitting some deep passes while struggling at times on his accuracy. During training camp, the Ravens have used Jackson in two-quarterback plays with Joe Flacco, lining him up at a different position at times.

Baltimore coach John Harbaugh said what he wants to see the most out of Jackson is poise.

"You have to run the show, and to see him run the show with confidence and get things right would be the main thing for him," Harbaugh said. "After that, play football and let's see what happens."

It's unknown when Jackson will get on the field. With Flacco not expected to play Thursday, the Ravens have declined to say whether Jackson or Robert Griffin III will get the start.

Jackson's adjustment to the NFL has begun before the ball is even snapped. He is calling longer plays in the huddle, which he rarely did at Louisville.

"I stand in the mirror, look at the plays and try to say them to myself to get ready for the next day," Jackson said.

While this is Jackson's debut, it also marks the return for Griffin. He will play in his first NFL game in 18 months.

For Griffin, being out of the league for a year gave him an even deeper appreciation for the game.

"It's like someone taking your girl," Griffin said. "You thought you missed her before but now you miss her a little bit more."