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Ravens 'in the laboratory' devising Lamar Jackson plan

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We're only two days into minicamp season, but it's already fair to wonder in Baltimore: How do the Ravens plan to use Lamar Jackson, their dangerously mobile rookie quarterback, this season with such an inert signal-caller in Joe Flacco starting under center?

According to coach John Harbaugh, the game plan for the Heisman-winning dual-threat player is still very much under construction.

"You can do it in practice. You do it in the laboratory," Harbaugh told reporters when asked how the Ravens' staff will formulate a plot for Jackson to succeed early on in Baltimore. "Obviously we've got coaches who have a lot of experience with that. That's helpful to us. You do it on the practice field. We ran a lot of stuff out here today that you probably saw.

"We're gonna always try to get our players making plays for us. Lamar's a guy that can help us win games.

Harbaugh offered no specifics as to what the Ravens' "lab", led by offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, has already cooked up, but early signs point to Baltimore leaning on Jackson's arm, rather than his legs.

"The thing I was really impressed with is I thought he was accurate. You read the reports and stuff like that, but he's a naturally talented thrower. He's got natural arm talent," Harbaugh gushed Saturday. "That's something that people were questioning. To see him out here throwing the ball naturally, very accurately, I thought it was a big plus."

Jackson and Flacco's styles are so diametrically opposed that Baltimore's late-first-round selection of the former prompted NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock to conclude that the Ravens "philosophically and schematically committed to a new offense." But with Flacco under contract through 2021 -- with a potential out following the 2019 season -- the Ravens will have to slow-play their transition to Jackson.

The two quarterbacks are also slow-playing their relationship. Jackson told reporters Saturday that he has yet to speak to Flacco and doesn't yet know what he'll learn from the 33-year-old veteran.

Instead, his main focus right now is getting comfortable taking snaps under center; Jackson played almost exclusively out of the shotgun in Louisville.

Wherever Baltimore ends up placing Jackson in the formation is fine with the rookie, just as long as the team treats him like a quarterback.

"That's pretty cool to me," Jackson said when told of Baltimore's supposed "laboratory." "They want me on the field to utilize my talent and be a quarterback. That's cool to me."

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