Lamar Jackson, the former Boynton Beach High standout, spent the summer working on his throwing motion and fundamentals. "This is not a one-trick pony," Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores said.
DAVIE – The Baltimore Ravens now are Lamar Jackson’s team.
They’d like to keep it that way.
Jackson, the former Boynton Beach High standout, took over the starting quarterback job midway through last season, his first in the NFL. He then led the Ravens to six wins in their final seven games and a spot in the playoffs. But Jackson’s success was as much, if not more, because of his legs than his arm, which is not a recipe for keeping quarterbacks upright and on the field in the NFL.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh likes what he saw from Jackson throughout the preseason.
"He’s had success throwing it in the preseason," Harbaugh said Wednesday as his team prepares to open the season Sunday against the Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium.
"He’s worked really hard on the fundamentals, the platform, the footwork, the release levels. He’s got a lot of different release angles he’s kind of naturally gifted at that he’s worked on. All those things hopefully translate into production."
Jackson’s first start in a season opener will be just down the road from his hometown of Pompano Beach.
"That’s pretty dope," Jackson told Ravens reporters Wednesday. "I just can’t wait to get into that environment. I know it’s going to be crazy. I just can’t wait to put on a show."
Jackson said a lot of friends and family are "hitting me up" for tickets. "I probably won’t see them all but they’ll see me," he said.
Jackson averaged 22.6 pass attempts and ran the ball 17 times a game during his seven regular-season starts last year. For the season, he completed 58.2 percent of his passes (99 of 170) for 1,201 yards, with six touchdowns and three interceptions.
During his Heisman Trophy winning junior season at Louisville, Jackson led the ACC (ninth nationally) in rushing at 123.2 yards per game. He also threw for 281.5 yards per game.
While the Ravens have made it clear Jackson’s rushing attempts will be limited, they know his ability to create plays with his legs is a special weapon.
"I think he’s going to try to make plays," Harbaugh said. "His mentality is to win whatever way necessary. Throwing the ball is a big part of that but the running is also part of it."
All of which is making Brian Flores a bit uncomfortable as he prepares for his first game as the Dolphins’ head coach.
"This is not a one-trick pony," Flores said. "He presents a lot of challenges. He’s an explosive player, dynamic. I think he’s throwing the ball a lot better.
"We have got our work cut out for us."
Jackson spent most of the summer in Florida working on his throwing motion and fundamentals.
"He’s dynamic," Dolphins safeties coach Tony Oden said. "He does a lot of great things. I think he’s managed the game well. You can see his progression in learning the game, learning his formations and kind of running that offense.
"He’s definitely a dynamic, exciting player."
Dolphins defensive line coach Marion Hobby noticed how the Ravens rallied around Jackson as their leader.
"He is special," Hobby said. "The things he does throwing the ball, the things he does with his feet. You can tell his players play hard for him. His receiver corps, his tight ends, they all play hard for him. You can tell that his leadership in that group is really taking off."