Lamar Jackson is the only first-round rookie quarterback to not get a start this season, relegated to change-of-pace plays behind established veteran Joe Flacco.
The Baltimore Ravens are seeking ways to use Jackson’s exceptional athleticism, lining him up behind center for run plays in leverage situations.
Ravens look to Lamar Jackson in red zone
One of those situations came Sunday with Baltimore facing second-and-goal from the 1-yard line in the first quarter of an eventual 24-23 loss against the New Orleans Saints.
In theory, these are misdirection plays that end up with Flacco lining up wide, presumably as a threat in a passing game.
Flacco the decoy?
But Flacco’s not exactly putting the hard sell on his abilities as a receiving threat.
On this play, Flacco was lined up wide to the right when Jackson took the snap. Jackson faked a handoff to Alex Collins on what could be construed as a run-pass option.
Jackson’s first NFL TD
But is there really a pass option here? Jackson carried the ball into the end zone behind left tackle Ronnie Stanley, who countered to the right side to clear a path. All of this happened while Flacco stood, watched and celebrated without taking a step.
Good job, Joe.
It’s not the first time Flacco has played this role this season. In fact it wasn’t the only time the flat-footed quarterback played more of a spectator than participant on Sunday.
Joe Flacco putting in MAXIMUM EFFORT 😂 pic.twitter.com/8PjfGCWlPl
— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) October 21, 2018
Ravens playing the long con?
Sure, it’s wise to not risk injury to Flacco by having him getting mixed up with a defensive back salivating at laying a big hit on him.
But even Flacco’s wife has given him a hard time about his “effort” on these plays.
“My wife gave me crap the one day, told me I need to look more interested out there,” Flacco said after Week 5. “But I’m just trying to stay out of it, man. I’m not comfortable out there, haven’t been out there in a very long time. I don’t need to get too creative.”
Maybe the Ravens are just playing the long con, planning to lull a defense to sleep with a pass to Flacco when it really counts.
Either way, congrats to Jackson on his first NFL score.
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