The Ravens are clearly building a new offense around quarterback Lamar Jackson, and his ability to run.
And coordinator Greg Roman isn’t going to call particular plays with fear of Jackson being injured.
Via Jonas Shaffer of the Baltimore Sun, Roman said he’s not going to worry about Jackson getting hurt while on the move.
“I think it’s a little overrated, the whole danger thing,” Roman said. “Why? Because, and this is empirical data here, over the years, you kind of realize that when a quarterback decides to run, he’s in control. So now [if] he wants to slide, he can slide. If he wants to dive, he can dive, get out of bounds, all of those different things. He can get down, declare himself down.
“A lot of the time, the situations that [have] more danger are when he doesn’t see what’s coming — my eyes are downfield, I’m standing stationary from the pocket, somebody is hitting me from the blind side. My experience, and I kind of learned this, is that when the quarterback takes the ball and starts to run, there’s not a lot of danger involved in that relative to other situations.”
Of course, Roman has seen first-hand what can happen when the quarterback is outside the pocket, stemming from his days with the 49ers when Alex Smith‘s concussion opened the door to Colin Kaepernick and a Super Bowl run. Or in Buffalo when Tyrod Taylor was horse-collared while scrambling.
And Roman’s point that quarterbacks can be injured in the pocket is valid, as Aaron Rodgers would attest. But it’s still worth considering the volume of opportunities for Jackson, since so much of the offense is literally going to run through him.
“Last year, for example, was a learning curve for him on how he would handle a [running] situation,” Roman said. “ ‘Do we really want to take those hits?’ ‘Why would I cut back against the grain when I could take it out the front door into space?’ All of those things started last year. . . . I think you have to be very judicious on realizing the big picture.”
At the same time, keeping Jackson in the pocket takes away the thing that makes him dangerous to opponents, and that’s not anything Roman is interested in either.