Ray Lewis Believes Lamar Jackson “Needs Help” in More Ways Than One

Ravens legend Ray Lewis

Getty This franchise legend sounded off on what the team needs to do to help their best player.

The Baltimore Ravens offense produced the most revolutionary rushing attack in NFL history around the dynamic skillset of Lamar Jackson under former offensive coordinator Greg Roman.

Even though it shattered franchise and league records and made their star signal caller a unanimous league MVP in just his second season, retired Ravens hall of fame inside linebacker Ray Lewis believes that it was never a great fit for Jackson and that it actually held him back.

“Lamar Jackson is a rock star, but the offense that he’s been playing in the past three or four years, with Greg Roman as offensive coordinator, doesn’t fit him,” Lewis said on “Inside the NFL.” “It fits him because he has to be Superman. He has to make five people miss.”


Not only does the franchise legend believe that Jackson needs to be in a more balanced and evolved scheme, he thinks that team needs to surround with the requisite weaponry to thrive as a passer.

“Lamar Jackson needs a No. 1 receiver. Lamar Jackson needs help,” Lewis said. “They haven’t given Lamar Jackson the opportunity to really throw the ball downfield. Let this guy do what I think he does very well. … When you have a player that dynamic — Patrick Mahomes is surrounded around nothing but help. Lamar – we got Mark Andrews, we got a couple of other guys, but we need pieces around Lamar Jackson to help Lamar Jackson.”

While the 12-time Pro Bowler and two-time Defensive Player of the Year is spot on with his assertion that Jackson is in need of more weapons to throw to, particularly at wide receiver, it hasn’t been for a lack of trying on the part of general manager Eric DeCosta.

Since his first draft at the helm of the front office in 2019, the Ravens have drafted six receivers, including two in the first and four in the top three rounds. The issue hasn’t been the lack of swings at the position, but rather a lack of hitting on them.

Marquise Hollywood Brown produced the first 1,000-plus yard season by a Ravens wideout since 2016 but then requested a trade that turned into starting center Tyler Linderbaum who was a stud as rookie this past season. Rashod Bateman has flashed game-breaking potential as a playmaker but has struggled with injuries. Devin Duvernay has blossomed into a dangerous all-purpose weapon and is a two-time Pro Bowler as a returner.

The biggest issues that have plagued the receiving corps are health and lack of consistent opportunity in a run-dominant offense. With reinforcement expected to be added this offseason as the team looks to “build up” the room, Lewis and all concerned parties can be assured that Ravens will aggressively address that unit in a similar fashion to the way they rebuilt and fortified their offensive line last offseason both via the draft and free agency.

Ravens Quest to Replace Roman Suggests Philosophy Shift

At he and DeCosta’s season-ending press conference, head coach John Harbaugh said that the team would be “casting a wide net” in their search for the next play designer and caller of the Ravens’ offense with the hopes of evolving while still staying true to their identity of being a hard-nosed running team.

“In terms of the vision for the offense, the identity of the offense is what is important in that vision,” Harbaugh said. “We’ve established an identity for our offense; I think everybody knows that who plays against us and watches us play. That’s important; that’s a good identity. That’s an identity that we’re going to carry forward. It speaks well of the organization, the city, kind of, what we’re all about.

“Within that, the schemes that you run, the formations, the type of players you put out there, that’s all kind of methodology. You kind of work through that as you go. So, I’ll be looking to explore into that some more too – What kind of ideas come up in these interviews? What kind of ideas do guys have? How can they merge their thoughts and their vision for this offense with what’s been done here in the past, too? How does it all fit together with the players? Those are all the questions you ask.”

Thus far the list of candidates that the Ravens have interviewed or been rumored to be interested in have one underlying commonaility, all of their most recent positions held involve the passing game in one form or another.

At just 36-years-old, Zac Robinson who most recently served as the Los Angeles Rams‘ pass game coordinator/QBs coach and has been on head coach Sean McVay’s coaching staff since 2019 is one of the most popular names still in contention now that former Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Riech has been hired in the same position by the Carolina Panthers.

They’ve also been rumored to be in talks with Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bienemy who might consider making a lateral move since he isn’t the full-time play caller or designer on Andy Reid’s staff.

Other candidates that have interviewed or requested to interview include Cleveland Browns‘ wide receiver coach Chad O’Shea (Age: 50), Denver Broncos 2022 offensive coordinator Justin Outten (Age: 39), and Seattle Seahawks quarterback coach Dave Canales (Age: 41) who helped turn Geno Smith from a journeyman backup to a Pro Bowler this past season.

They’ve also been interested in Minnesota VikingsBrian Angelichio (Age: 50) passing game coordinator and tight ends coach and recently fired Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich.

Their internal candidates that are under consideration include quarterbacks coach James Urban (Age: 49) and tight ends coach George Godsey (Age: 44) as well as wide receivers coach Tee Martin (Age: 44).

Striving for more balance on that side of the ball after being ranked in the top five in rushing every year but the bottom five in passing according to ESPN’s Jamison Hensley is clearly a priority for the team as they look toward the future and the evolution of both Jackson and the offense as a whole.

“We’re going to always believe in running the ball, and we’ve done that really well over the last number of years,” Harbaugh said. “With that, you’ve got to have a complementary passing game. You’ve got to have a standalone passing game – with dropback passing, situational passing, third downs, especially long and in the red zone. And then you’ve got to have a play-action passing game that goes with whatever runs you run, whether it’s quarterback-driven runs or power runs or whatever, and they’ve got to fit your run game. So, those are the things that kind of play off of each other. It’s just a well-rounded, balanced offense.”

Jackson Will be “Involved” & have “Input” in Search

The relationship between quarterback and play caller is one of the most important on the entire team as the two’s fates and success are often interwined with one another. The Ravens are ensuring their two-time Pro Bowler and First-Team All-Pro’s voice will be heard and input taken into consideration during their search to find their next offensive coordinator.

“He will be involved in it,” Harbaugh said. “I’ll keep him abreast to what’s going on, and I’m sure he’ll have some input along the way. But I know his focus – like he told me – is going to be on getting himself ready and getting his guys ready for next season.”

There has been plenty of consternation about whether Jackson can operate a pro-style offense at the NFL level. However, he proved that he’s capable of executing exactly that while he was in college at Lousiville under Bobby Petrino from 2015-2017. In each of his last two season, he threw for over 3,500 yards, and 27 or more touchdowns and rushed for over 1,500 yards according to Sports Reference.

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