Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson has struggled from the pocket during his first three preseason appearances. The first-round rookie's most dynamic moments have been when he's on the run. The Ravens, however, don't want Jackson to continue to take big hits.
"Yeah, that's not good," offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said Wednesday, via ESPN.com. "It's just that simple."
Added Mornhinweg: "We'd rather get down a step too early than a step too late. As you can see, that's an ongoing process. Some of it is experience because he needs to have to filter through what he can get away with and what he can't in this league."
Jackson has rushed for 72 yards on 17 attempts with one touchdown this preseason. He hasn't slid on any run, and he flipped over a defender during Monday night's tilt versus the Colts. The rookie has a veteran mentor on the roster who knows well the dangers of taking big hits, and how they can alter a career.
"What I try to tell him mostly is that in this league things happen faster," Robert Griffin III said. "It's not that he can't run -- he just has to be smart when he does run. He's going to have to learn some things on his own as he's out there and he's working. I think he'll figure it out pretty quickly, and he'll still be the dynamic player that he is."
Hopefully Jackson isn't learning how to slide from RGIII, notoriously one of the worst QBs at sliding.
The issue with a dynamic playmaker like the Louisville product is learning to use his legs while avoiding big hits. He should study Russell Wilson, who is constantly on the run but rarely seems to take a brutal shot.
"He has to learn how to throw in the pocket, of course. At some point, to play quarterback in the National Football League, you have to drop back and throw it," QB coach James Urban said of Jackson. "We're getting there, and he's improving dramatically.
"Great natural ability takes over, you go make your play, and then take the hit off, get what we can, get up and get out, sliding, obviously, and now diving. In the National Football League, there's protection for the quarterback, so we're aware of those, and we've talked about it. He might take a hit that he shouldn't, and then he'll learn."
Hopefully that hit doesn't ruin Jackson's career.