Ravens believe Lamar Jackson will return 10 times better next year

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“He’s devastated right now, and that’s what’s going to drive him in the offseason,” safety Eric Weddle said. “And, he’ll come back 10 times better than he was this year.”

What Jackson has to focus on is problems that have plagued him throughout his rookie season as well as on Sunday: ball security (three fumbles Sunday, including one with 19 seconds remaining) and accuracy (48.2 percent against the Chargers).

The Ravens are banking on Jackson ironing out these issues while getting a majority of the reps with the starters throughout spring workouts, training camp and the preseason. This past season, Jackson worked primarily with backups throughout the offseason and didn’t get many reps in the first nine weeks of the regular season when Joe Flacco was the starter.

In September and October, Jackson went with quarterbacks coach James Urban for a half hour after every practice to work on fundamentals. With Flacco expected to be traded or released, Jackson will get every opportunity to take the next step.

“With a year under his belt, I feel he can come out and do the same thing, but even better,” wide receiver Willie Snead said. “He’s going to get to grow, he’s got a lot of confidence. I think the future is really bright.”cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale8

In order for Jackson to make any strides, he has to learn how to hold onto the football. He finished tied for the most fumbles in the regular season with 12 (Derek Carr, Dak Prescott and Jared Goff were the others).

When you count the three fumbles on Sunday, Jackson totaled 13 in his eight starts (he fumbled twice before he became the starter). That projects for 26 in a full season as a starter, which would set an NFL record.

Harbaugh has always stressed ball security, once describing the football this summer as “everybody’s ambitions, dreams, hopes and everything else are in your arms.” After Sunday’s game, Harbaugh was optimistic about Jackson lowering his fumbles.

“The ball-handling in an offense like this is the thing,” Harbaugh said. “When you’re basing the offense on the principles on which we’re basing the offense on, you have to be a great ball-handling team. The truth is, we didn’t get enough work at it in the offseason, in OTAs [organized team activities], training camp, all that. To be a great ball-handling team, you can’t put the ball on the ground. That’s something that we’ll go to work on when we come back. That will be priority one — to be a great ball-handling team.” nike

The other area where Jackson has to grow is hitting his targets in the passing game. He completed 3 of 10 passes for 25 yards in the first three-plus quarters Sunday. In the regular season, Jackson connected on 58.2 percent of his throws (99-of-170) and struggled at times to throw catchable passes to wide-open receivers downfield as well as running backs in the flat.