05 Apr

John Harbaugh says Ravens offense will evolve with Derrick Henry, won’t alter how Lamar Jackson plays the game

The Baltimore Ravens rebounded from a couple of stale years to reclaim their spot among the top offenses in the NFL last season. Baltimore checked in sixth in yards, fourth in points, fourth in the share of drives that ended in a touchdown or field goal, fifth in pass offensive efficiency (as measured by FTN’s DVOA), first in rush offense efficiency and fourth in overall offensive efficiency.

With a new coordinator in Todd Monken, new weapons in Zay Flowers, Nelson Agholor, Odell Beckham Jr., and Keaton Mitchell, Lamar Jackson was able to once again have an MVP-caliber season, and the Ravens quarterback claimed the award for the second time in five years.

Fast forward to 2024 and Jackson will again have a new weapon by his side: former Tennessee Titans star Derrick Henry. And once again, the offense is going to evolve again, according to head coach John Harbaugh.

“It’ll look different, there’s no doubt about that,” Harbaugh said, via the team’s official website. “That’s the one thing we believe in — keeping it moving. You can never keep it the same.”

The Ravens don’t plan to change the way they use Jackson, but instead, to incorporate Henry and his unique skill set into what they did last year, and allow that change to evolve the offense itself.

“Lamar is going to play the way Lamar plays, and that’s what I’m for,” Harbaugh said. “I love the way he plays the game. I think he’s intuitive and intelligent, just a phenomenal football player. He sees the game in very unique ways and very smart ways, so I’m for him playing the way he plays. I think that Derrick Henry being there, plus Lamar, plus the other guys, it’s a good formula.”

Specifically, the team won’t suddenly go increasingly RPO-heavy (run-pass option) to make defenses account for the threat of Jackson and Henry on every single play. That’s something you want opponents to deal with, but leaning too heavily into it can constrain the passing game because it takes away some of the ability to throw deep down the field, which is an area where Jackson excels.

“I think we’re in the right place with our RPOs,” Harbaugh said. “I don’t think it’s something that we’re going to like go wholesale towards, because Lamar has got so many different ways he plays the game, and there are other things we like to do, to be honest with you.

“I don’t see us going towards like [a] specific offense that runs those more than anybody else. RPOs will be a part of what we’re doing, for sure, but they’re not going to be the main part of what we’re doing.”

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