OWN MILLS, Md. — Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh defiantly dismissed criticism of his offense on Wednesday, saying he made no apologies for Lamar Jackson’s style of play or his team-centered game plan.
Harbaugh’s strong endorsement came four days after the Ravens set a postseason franchise record by scoring the fewest points in a 17-3 divisional playoff loss to the Buffalo Bills. The Ravens’ offensive coordinator, Greg Roman, was heavily criticized for what many considered a simplistic passing attack.
The reason I emphasize this point is that it comes back to the same criticism we’ve heard the last three years, that this is not the type of offense or the type of quarterback that some people want to see, Harbaugh said during his 45-minute press conference at the end of the season. You just have to get over it because Lamar Jackson has won a lot of football games here and our offense has won a lot of football games here and we don’t apologize for that for a second.
The Ravens have been outshot in the NFL for the first time since 2003. Harbaugh explained that the lack of passing yards is due to building the best passing rush in football history over the past two years and Baltimore’s attempt at 406 interceptions in the NFL.
Baltimore has all the course concepts, but the passing game won’t be as difficult because the Ravens don’t throw the ball 40 to 50 times a game like the Pittsburgh Steelers, Harbaugh said.
We’ll improve it, no doubt, Harbaugh said. We will be more accurate, more efficient and better. Let’s leave the criticism to the critics. If they are willing to coordinate their offense and put their product on the ground, I can’t wait to compete with him.
Harbaugh noted that the Ravens finished 7th in the scoring charts this season, averaging 29.3 points per game. We can talk about the other 25 teams and talk about what they’re doing wrong to get anyone’s attention, he said.
Harbaugh also spoke openly about Jackson’s future in Baltimore. NFL MVP Jackson finished his third season in the NFL, and meanwhile Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson received their long-term contracts.
Based on market value, Mr. Jackson is expected to win a new contract averaging over $40 million per season. Baltimore is expected to exercise its five-year option this season. Jackson is under contract until the 2022 season, although most agree that he has outbid his rookie contract.
We clearly want Lamar to sign a long-term contract and stay with us, Harbaugh said. I’m awfully sure that’s going to happen. When it happens, it’s details. Here’s what we need to find out.
The Ravens must also determine if they have enough room to improve Jackson’s targets in the passing game. For the second season in a row, Baltimore wide receivers ranked last in the league in terms of catches and receiving yards.
In addition to the franchise label, this year’s top receivers are in free agency: Allen Robinson of Chicago, Kenny Golladay of Detroit and Chris Godwin of Tampa Bay.
If we could get Anquan Boldin here, we should, Harbaugh said. Can we afford it? Those are the details we need to work out. I think a big physical receiver would be perfect for us.