OWINGS MILLS — The Ravens wrapped up mandatory minicamp Thursday and now break for five weeks until the start of training camp.
This is an important time for players to improve individually, mostly on their conditioning, away from teammates and coaches. For second-year quarterback Lamar Jackson, it’s about so much more than that.
“I got better with my fundamentals, but I’m not perfect,” he said Thursday. “I’m going to keep working on it always. You’re never too great.”
Jackson said when he reported to voluntary workouts in March that he had been emphasizing the basic mechanics over the offseason. He had spent time throwing to Ravens wide receiver Jordan Lasley and University of Louisville teammate Jaylen Smith, who has since signed with Baltimore as an undrafted free agent, during that time.
Jackson said Thursday he will organize the Ravens’ pass catchers before training camp begins in late July. He will again work with his high school coach, Joshua Harris, on his throwing in his home state of Florida.
“I’m just going to try to keep bettering myself. Probably working with coach Josh Harris, but I’m working with my guys, too. In July, we’re going to get together here or in Florida. We’re just going to try and get better.”
Jackson specified that his “guys” include the running backs, too. Just like anybody else, the unit makes plans through group texts.
Jackson said he might also train with well-known throwing guru Tom House.
Longtime starting quarterback Joe Flacco was frequently criticized by fans for failing to work out with his wide receivers away from the team facility. Flacco threw to wide receivers outside of practice in 2011 during the NFL lockout and again last year after the Ravens drafted Jackson in the first round.
Head coach John Harbaugh said the Ravens have some knowledge of what Jackson’s plans are for the time away, but are not micromanaging the specifics.
“I have an idea,” Harbaugh said. “I don’t know the specifics of when and where, but I know he plans on working with all of his people, including [Harris]. It’s very valuable work.”
Jackson struggled with ball security as a rookie, and acknowledged Thursday “Keeping the ball in my hands is the biggest thing for me going into this year.”
Harbaugh would not rank the importance of areas Jackson can improve upon.
“There’s a lot of areas for any position, and especially at quarterback, to work on. All of those areas are vitally important. I don’t think you can really rank them. They’re all important because any of them can really hurt you or really help you in a game,” Harbaugh said. “The ball handling, the passing, the reads, running the offense, operating the mental part of it, and just being in great shape. All those things are important.”
The Ravens have put Jackson in position to progress this season by drafting wide receivers in the first and third rounds and added a game-breaking running back in the fourth.
“If you would divide all the different things that go in to playing quarterback, I think it would be amazing to many people how many columns there are. He has raised his level in every column,” offensive coordinator Greg Roman said Wednesday. “Lamar is the kind of guy that, the more he does something, he’s going to get better at it.”
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