Both head coach Jon Harbaugh and general manager Eric DeCosta took the podium for Combine interviews, offering insight on the Baltimore Ravens and plans moving forward. Reflecting on a 6-1 finish under then rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson, optimism reigned supreme throughout both sessions. Let's examine my most notable takeaways.
- Harbaugh was quick to praise both Jackson and the coaching staff for adjusting on the fly to close the season with a strong 6-1 finish. Starting the season with Jackson as the undisputed starter will be a major advantage for Baltimore in 2019.
- Harbaugh and his staff are making the most of their time right now to construct the offense and build the plan moving forward around Jackson. He affirmed his belief in Jackson.
- Harbaugh stated that Jackson's ability to make off-script plays was something that he loves. He mentioned Ben Roethlisberger, Tom Brady and Deshaun Watson as others who excel in that area.
- When discussing primary areas of growth needed from Jackson moving forward, Harbaugh quickly noted ball handling and tight window throws.
- Harbaugh was obviously excited about his two young tight ends - Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews - and the jump he expects from them in Year Two. He noted that every day won't be a new day for them next season and their comfort level should be notably higher.
- Harbaugh offered high praise for wide receiver Willie Snead, specifically mentioning his work ethic.
- When discussing how to build the weapons around Jackson, Harbaugh was quick to mention Baltimore's history and success with acquiring veteran wide receivers. He specifically mentioned Derek Mason, Anquan Boldin and Steve Smith as examples. Harbaugh did also note the same success wasn't present with the receivers Baltimore has drafted although he'd love to bring in some young pieces to grow with Jackson.
- Harbaugh stated that Gus Edwards is Baltimore's No. 1 running back and that he loves his size and style. Harbaugh affirmed that competition to the position will be added in the offseason.
- Harbaugh was asked if a "new and improved" Breshad Perriman was a player Baltimore would be interested in bringing back. He was dismissive of that possibility despite the growth Perriman has illustrated since leaving the team.
- Harbaugh spoke highly of free agent OLB Za'Darius Smith, noting his versatility to rush from all four spots and drop in coverage while also mentioning his intensity as a player.
- On Marshal Yanda, Harbaugh stated it was his expectation that he is coming back next season.
- Harbaugh was very passionate when discussing his thoughts on officiating and replay in the NFL. He said the sideline is the worst possible view of the game and adding officials in the box and the field was necessary. He noted that fans have a better viewpoint than officials, he was in favor of more replay and that other leagues should not be outpacing the NFL in these areas.
- On the AAF, Harbaugh said Baltimore's scouts were "big time" engaged with it.
- DeCosta was very hopeful when discussing the CJ Mosley negotiations. Conversations are ongoing and DeCosta referred to Mosley as a "critical" player on the team. DeCosta did not dismiss the franchise tag but did mention a long-term deal was the priority.
- In light of Terrell Suggs announcing that he wants to continue playing, DeCosta stated he wants him back and will meet with his reps this week.
- DeCosta would love to bring in young wide receivers to grow with Lamar Jackson. He mentioned that adding playmakers around Jackson was a must.
- DeCosta was asked if he would consult with Jackson on draft picks and DeCosta said no and that Jackson had other things to be focused on at this point in his career.
- When asked about picking up the fifth-year option on offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley, DeCosta did not opt to provide comments on his plan.
- DeCosta said that he did not consider the 2019 quarterback class when deciding to draft Lamar Jackson.
- DeCosta expects Brandon Carr to be back.
- DeCosta offered high praise for his time learning under Ozzie Newsome. He noted they have watched the Combine workouts together for 23 years and hope to continue doing it for another 23.
- On bringing back wide receiver John Brown, DeCosta said he loved Smoke and would like for him to return.