More plays using both QBs? Ravens not ruling it out

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- The Baltimore Ravens' creativity has generated plenty of buzz and applause at this year's training camp.

Some of the biggest cheers have come when the Ravens use Joe Flacco and Lamar Jackson on the field at the same time. For a couple of times each practice, Flacco begins at quarterback and Jackson lines up at multiple positions.

While the Ravens' media policy prohibits detailed descriptions, Baltimore has been running plays in which both quarterbacks touch the ball.

Will the Ravens do more of that going forward?

"We'll see," offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said. "We're at the start of training camp. We're going to see what everybody's strengths are. Look, we'll try to use all of our players that are eligible; we'll try to use the whole field, we'll get it to our best players more."

With each practice, it feels like Baltimore's dual-quarterback plays are becoming more of a reality than an experiment.

The Ravens' depth chart is well-defined three days into training camp. It's Flacco, Jackson, then Robert Griffin III and Josh Woodrum.

Jackson isn't running any routes, and the Ravens are committed to developing him at quarterback. Baltimore is looking for ways to get a playmaker like Jackson on the field for an offense that ranked No. 31 in yards per play last season.

Mornhinweg credited Jackson's hard work to his accelerated development as a pocket passer.

"He's done an outstanding job up to date," Mornhinweg said. "He's way ahead of the curve now."

Putting two quarterbacks on the field is rare in the NFL, but it's not unprecedented.

The most notable instances include Neil O'Donnell and Kordell Stewart in Pittsburgh, Matt Hasselbeck and Seneca Wallace in Seattle and Joe Webb with either Matt Cassel or Christian Ponder in Minnesota.

Even the Ravens did so in November 2013, when they broke out the Wildcat with Tyrod Taylor at quarterback and split out Flacco at wide receiver. Flacco later said the gadget play made the Ravens look like "a high school offense."

What gives the Ravens a sense that Flacco is more supportive of that now?

"There's nothing wrong with a high school play," Mornhinweg said. "We have a lot of them. If they're done properly, they're very effective."

Mornhinweg then added, "I know I didn't answer your question and I did that on purpose."

Flacco and Jackson will have to put personal preferences aside in order for this tag-team approach to work. Jackson made it clear throughout the pre-draft process that he viewed himself only as a quarterback. Even though he technically isn't playing other positions, Jackson might have to line up elsewhere to get snaps right away.

There are no signs that Jackson will become the next "Slash," but he isn't lining up behind center when he gets reps with the starting offense.

"We're just trying different things for different disguises for different defenses -- that's all," Jackson said. "I'm just going with the flow right now."

Flacco is healthier than he has been in the past three seasons. On Sunday, he showed that he has no lingering effects from his knee surgery (2015) or herniated disk (2017) when he kept the ball on a run-pass option and ran for 20 yards.

Coaches and teammates frequently comment how Flacco is more athletic than people think. As a rookie in 2008, he caught a 43-yard pass from Troy Smith.

Flacco believes he can make that type of play again in his 11th NFL season.

"I'm not running too much different than I've always run, and that's never been great, so that's not that high of a feat," Flacco said. "But I don't think I'm going to be doing those things, but I'm capable."

Flacco has had an excellent start to this year's training camp, and he's throwing the ball better than Jackson and Griffin. But the Ravens are trying to figure out how to generate more excitement out of their offense. Baltimore ranked last in the NFL on plays of 20 yards or more (37), and the Ravens have scored the eighth-fewest offensive touchdowns (163) over the past five seasons.

"Lamar is a heck of an athlete, and he can throw the football," Flacco said, "so the opportunities are definitely endless."