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Ravens GM Eric DeCosta: Improving passing game is 'not all about getting the No. 1 receiver'

The Baltimore Ravens aren't spending the offseason worried about upgrading their wide receivers corps as much as those outside the building are fretting over the state of the passing game in the Charm City.

Echoing John Harbaugh's comments last week, Ravens GM Eric DeCosta noted his club is a run-first squad, and there are other ways to buffer the passing attack rather than stockpiling receivers.

"It's not all about getting the No. 1 receiver that everybody likes to talk about," DeCosta said. "We would certainly look at that. We would try to upgrade at every single position on this football team this offseason if we can, based on the parameters of what we have to work with draft pick-wise, money-wise and all the other challenges associated with building a football team."

The GM noted other areas that the Ravens can improve to generate a more efficient passing offense. DeCosta pointed to O-line injuries this season as part of what held Lamar Jackson & Co. back at times. He also said pre-snap penalties putting the offense in bad spots and turnovers also factored into the passing attack not living up to expectations in 2020.

The Ravens have spent draft capital on the receiver spot in the past. DeCosta was assistant GM to Ozzie Newsome when Baltimore made Breshad Perriman a first-round pick in 2015. Last year, DeCosta plucked Marquise Brown in the first round. Those were supposed to be the Ravens' No. 1 WRs. Brown still has a chance if he grows after an up-and-down 2020.

DeCosta dismissed the perceived notion that top-shelf receivers wouldn't want to join Baltimore because the opportunities would be fewer in a run-first offense.

"I've never had a player yet say to me, I don't want to come play for the Baltimore Ravens because you don't throw the ball," he said. "It hasn't happened yet. Maybe it will...I've never heard, well, you don't throw the ball, I'm not going there. There's always an exception, but I haven't heard it yet."

As long as Jackson is the Ravens QB, they'll be a run-first club with dynamic ability. As the young QB grows as a thrower, the passing game will open. Adding a go-to target who can win underneath one-on-one would be a boon to Jackson's development, but DeCosta doesn't sound like he's going to force the issue in a year when there will be salary cap constraints.

As for Jackson's future, the GM said he'll talk with the QB about an extension soon.

"I will be talking with Lamar probably in the next 10 days or so," he said. "He's down in Florida, but we've got a great relationship. He's got a great relationship with this organization. He's a very easy person to talk to and certainly deserves a contract. He has played phenomenal football over the last couple years, and our intention and my intention is to keep him in Baltimore for many, many years."

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