It is only two games, but we are seeing improvement in the way Lamar Jackson plays. He always does well against the Cincinnati Bengals, and the Texans' defense has some potential, but it is young. Still, there are differences that you can see in the way Jackson is playing, and Todd Monken is calling plays. What are they?
3. Lamar Jackson is benefitting from the Baltimore Ravens calling more screens
One significant difference from Lamar Jackson is that he throwing more screens than usual. This year, he is throwing a screen 20.3% of the time. Last year, it was 7.7%; the year before, it was 4.9%; and in 2020 it was 6.4%. That is a significant difference.
When you look at Jackson, his time to throw is down from a career rate of 3.09 to 2.86 this year. His average depth of target sits at 7.8 this year; and it is 9.4 for his career and was 9.2 last year. He is getting the ball out quicker and shorter, but that is almost entirely screen-related.
On non-screen plays, Jackson has a time to throw of 3.18, and an average depth of target of 11.1. Last year, his time to throw on non-screens was 3.2, and his depth of target was 10.3. You are seeing that Jackson has that same aggression down the field, Todd Monken is just mixing in some layups for him here and there to keep things moving.
Some of this is because of the addition of Zay Flowers, but in other ways, Monken is using Justice Hill and Devin Duvernay, who have been here. Still, the combination of Jackson being Jackson mixed with Jackson taking a quick screen for a few yards has made him a better passer.