Ravens give Lamar Jackson Saturday practice off to rest throwing arm

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) looks to pass, during the first half at an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — On a day when all eyes were on the absence of Ravens safety Earl Thomas due to an “organizational decision,” the reigning NFL MVP was also missing from the practice field.
Quarterback Lamar Jackson was not taking part in Saturday morning’s workout in an effort to rest a throwing arm that’s been very impressive in the opening week of full-team practice. For what it’s worth, Jackson was a late arrival to the field on Friday and was shaky with his passing early in the workout, but giving him Saturday off was always part of the plan, according to the Ravens.
“During training camp, what he’s getting right now is a day that he normally gets,” assistant head coach and pass coordinator David Culley said. “He’s been throwing the ball beautifully all training camp, and the arm gets a little tired every now and then. This is just part of the rest that he gets as he has gotten in previous training camps.”
Jackson led the NFL with 36 touchdown passes last season on his way to becoming the second-youngest player in league history to win the MVP award. That combined with his 1,206 rushing yards — most ever by a quarterback in a single season — and 6.9 yards per carry average easily made Jackson the most dynamic talent in the league.
So far in camp, the 23-year-old has shown few signs of rust with his throwing mechanics — a hot topic at this point last year — despite the absence of a normal offseason program due to the pandemic. Jackson now appears poised to build upon his 3,127-yard passing season in 2019, his first full year as the Baltimore starter.
“In terms of fundamentals, [we] literally start with the stance every year,” quarterbacks coach James Urban said. “And that way, it’s like riding a bike. Third year with him, what I’ve noticed is he’s much further along and was much faster to get up to speed in terms of the body, mechanically and throwing and accuracy and those things. He looks like he’s going into his third year of playing.”
Jackson and Thomas weren’t the only players absent from Saturday’s practice as cornerback Marcus Peters, tight end Eli Wolf, wide receiver Chris Moore (finger), running back Kenjon Barner (leg), and wide receiver Antoine Wesley (shoulder) were also missing. The Ravens placed Wesley on injured reserve Saturday afternoon as he’ll undergo shoulder surgery, according to NFL Network.
After previously being limited to individual work, center Matt Skura saw his first full-team reps during Saturday’s practice, a major step for someone less than nine months removed from his major knee injury. The Ravens would likely turn to second-year center Patrick Mekari if Skura isn’t ready to go for the 2020 season opener in three weeks.
“It’s nice to see him back from that injury,” offensive line coach Joe D’Alessandris said. “He came out there, and we’ve got him in some drills — start him off in fundamentals and technique. From there, we start putting him in plays like today. He practiced really well for us today. He’s coming on.”
The Ravens will practice at M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday afternoon with head coach John Harbaugh expected to address the Thomas situation.