2018 Ravens: Did keeping 3 quarterbacks become more realistic after HOF Game?
After seeing both Robert Griffin III and Lamar Jackson in action during the HOF Game, is it more likely the Ravens keep 3 Quarterbacks on the 53-Man roster?
Following the performances of Robert Griffin III and Lamar Jackson in the first of five preseason games, the Ravens front office seems to already have a roster debate on their hands: What happens in the quarterbacks’ room after Joe Flacco?
RGIII played surprisingly well in his first NFL action since January 1st, 2017. During his 20 minutes or-so of game action, he went 7/11 for 58-yards with a touchdown and an interception. If you didn’t get to watch the game, then it should be known that the interception was a ball right at Breshad Perriman that went through his hands and ended up falling right into a Bears players hands. Even his four incompletions were either dropped or fairly well-thrown balls.
Griffin III played like a consummate backup: steady, calm, cool, and even picked up multiple first downs thanks to his legs and ability to run the ball while looking downfield for open receivers.
Lamar Jackson played the entirety of the second-half and went 4/10 for 33-yards with one touchdown and an interception. Jackson also ran eight times for 25-yards. This performance wasn’t great by any stretch of the imagination for Jackson, but it wasn’t bad; all it did was solidify one thing: He needs time.
Jackson looked extremely raw and, although superbly athletic, he still needs to find the touch when it comes to accuracy and throwing balls with a little more “zip” or when to “float them in the bucket”. It seemed that, especially in the beginning of the third quarter, he was antsy in the pocket and wanted to run every time he dropped back. Jackson still clearly has a lot to learn, and more importantly needs to get comfortable dropping back and sitting in the pocket while delivering throws.
So, should the Ravens keep 3 quarterbacks on their roster?
With the way Jackson looked on Thursday night you have to highly consider it. He looked extremely raw, but the only way to improve is to play games and use practice rep to help to figure out. He did do a great job of calling the plays, keeping the offense organized and on schedule, and being the leader on the field pre-snap. His next development steps will need to take place once the ball is snapped.
Keep in mind, the Ravens haven’t kept three quarterbacks on a 53-man roster roster since 2009, so this isn’t a common thing in Baltimore. However, seeing that Jackson needs a lot more growth to be considered a “serviceable” backup, I don’t know if the Ravens have any other choice.
The biggest thing you need from a backup quarterback is dependency. Can we depend on you to come into a game and manage it enough to hold a lead, or play a week or two if our starter gets banged up? You get that feeling with RGIII, but I’m not sure if Lamar is quite there yet.
Granted, there’s still four more preseason games and Jackson will get a lot more on-field reps during those games. If Jackson’s anything like how he was on Thursday night however, I think the Ravens need to keep three quarterbacks.
The Ravens knew Jackson would be a project when they traded back into the first round to select him, and the first bullet they might have to bite for him is keeping him as QB #3 throughout the 2018 campaign.