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Jason La Canfora Sees Imminent Role For Lamar Jackson In 2018 And Beyond

June 21, 2018
By Cody Wilcox

CBS Sports NFL insider and B-More Opinionated podcast co-host Jason La Canfora joined Glenn Clark Radio June 18 to discuss the process of implementing Lamar Jackson into the Baltimore Ravens' offensive scheme and what fans can expect to see this upcoming season. 

La Canfora understands the skepticism that has shadowed Jackson to the NFL. Many question whether the Ravens will be able to effectively use Jackson on the field at the same time as quarterback Joe Flacco. But La Canfora believes the Ravens' coaching staff will run multiple packages for Jackson at quarterback throughout the 2018 season. 

"[Jackson] is going to see the field, and he is going to play," La Canfora said. "I think it's going to be more than just an occasional novelty, because he is being sort of developed and cultivated to be the face of the franchise starting in 2019. Maybe that happens -- maybe that doesn't -- it is going to be partly on him, partly on the coaches, partly on how Flacco plays and everything else. But that is the master plan here, and I agree with it. 

"It's 180 degrees different from anything we've seen them do -- especially on that side of the ball. …. Kudos to them for finally biting the bullet and acknowledging that 'We can't keep selling 3 yards and a cloud of dust in our passing game.'"

The Ravens traded back into the first round of the NFL Draft to select Jackson with the 32nd pick, and La Canfora is confident they will use him in their 2018 offense in beyond. In fact, La Canfora said owner Steve Bisciotti wanted to nab Jackson even sooner.

"[Bisciotti] wanted to take the kid at [No.] 16, and they had to talk him out of it," he said.

La Canfora also envisions that some of offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg's first 15 plays will feature certain packages with Jackson at quarterback, depending on how Jackson performs in training camp.

During spring practices, the Ravens have been nurturing the rookie quarterback into holding on to the ball longer, rather than tucking the ball and running, La Canfora said. 

"It seemed to be that [the Ravens] had preached to him -- if you tuck it and run after looking for at least three options in the pass game -- then it's a loss for you," ," La Canfora said. "… This wasn't about doing all the things that we already know you can do innately -- this is getting a nice long look at you."

The OTA drills also provided some insight into the future of the Ravens' offense, particularly at quarterback. 

"That was sort of like, 'Hey, get used to it guys. He is not here to be there 53rd guy on the roster or 54th on the roster, or whatever,'" La Canfora said. "'He is not here to be a game-day inactive. He is not here to be a gimmick. We are folding him into our offense, and he has to bend to us in something, and we have to bend to him on some things. We're trying to develop more than a wildcat guy here.'"

Jackson's performance could also be a factor in whether head coach John Harbaugh returns after the 2018 season, when his contract expires. La Canfora said Harbaugh might live and die by Jackson. 

"If they go 7-9 but Lamar starts a couple of games late and looks OK -- and he produces a touchdown throughout the course of the year running, or throwing, or whatever -- then I think [Harbaugh] probably does get another chance."

For more from La Canfora, listen to the full interview here:

Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox