Long: Lamar Jackson Needs To "Marry" The Playbook

Jackson can be a franchise quarterback, Rob Long says, but he needs to develop as a passer

After Hours With Amy Lawrence
March 15, 2019 - 9:18 am

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When the Baltimore Ravens take the field in 2019, they will look quite different from the team that won the AFC North last season. They will be without Eric Weddle, Terrell Suggs, C.J. Mosley, Za’Darius Smith and Joe Flacco, among others, but they have added the likes of Earl Thomas and Mark Ingram.

“I think the Ravens are heading in the right direction,” Baltimore’s 105.7 The Fan host Rob Long said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. "They’re getting younger, and they’re moving on.” 

While Ingram will bolster an already-potent backfield, Thomas could be a game-changer in the secondary.

“Earl Thomas is arguably the best safety of his generation,” Long said. “He’s going to wear a gold jacket one day, in my opinion. He is the best safety the Ravens have had since Ed Reed. I’m not comparing him to Ed Reed because Ed Reed is going to put on a gold jacket, but he is the best cover safety they’ve had. He’s a ball-hawking safety in the middle of the field. I think he’s hungry after what happened in Seattle and how he left there. I think he comes in to Baltimore hungry and ready to prove he’s still that guy.”

Offensively, the Ravens will need Lamar Jackson to develop as a passer. The 2018 first-round pick ran for 695 yards and five touchdowns last season but threw for just 1,201 yards, six touchdowns and three interceptions.

“I think it’s just a matter of repetition,” Long said. “From everything I hear, he has a tremendous work ethic, I hope that work ethic goes to the offseason and he puts in the time and the work. I hope he gets with some of these receivers as well – the tight ends, the young wide receivers – and works with them because timing and knowing what they’re going to do, when they’re going to break their routes, is very important. 

“But I think he needs to marry himself to that playbook,” Long continued. “He needs to work extremely hard in the offseason. I think he has the talent to be the Ravens’ quarterback of the future. I think he could be a franchise quarterback. I like Lamar Jackson. But in terms of being a pure passer in the NFL, he needs some work.”