Ben Roethlisberger texted 28-time Olympic gold medalist and Ravens superfan Michael Phelps shortly after Baltimore signed Odell Beckham Jr. Both Roethlisberger and Phelps agree that Beckham could be a huge boost for a Ravens offense and for quarterback Lamar Jackson, assuming the former league MVP will sign for Baltimore this season.
Roethlisberger, who won his lone start against a Jackson-led Ravens team during his career with the Steelers, recently broke down how the addition of Beckham could be beneficial for Jackson. Roethlisberger’s analysis included an honest assessment of how defenses are attempting to stop Jackson.
“With Lamar, you want to lower the security to stop the run,” Roethlisberger said on the latest edition of his podcast. “You’re not really afraid of Lamar’s accuracy all the time. He’s got a huge arm, he can make things happen when he’s climbing, but don’t be afraid he’ll just sit in your pocket and tear you apart. So you bring the safety down because you’re afraid he’ll run because he’s another level runner, so fear that. … But now when you have that guy out, you better reset a safety or it’s one to one, you can just throw it to him.
“So it definitely creates some potential opportunities for that offense and for Lamar to run if he has to or put those big shots onto the field if he has to when they take those safeties off.”
Roethlisberger’s comments provide a glimpse of how opposing teams view Jackson, an elite runner who is the only quarterback in NFL history to have two 1,000-yard rushing seasons under his belt. While Jackson’s accuracy is good, it’s probably not the part of his game that necessarily keeps defensive coordinators up at night. Every quarterback has strengths and weaknesses in their game, and Jackson is no different.
Quarterbacks are often only as effective as the players around them, which could be one of the reasons Jackson’s downfield precision isn’t revered anymore. For that reason, the addition of Beckham could be a game changer for the Ravens, as the three-time Pro Bowl wideout could see Jackson have more success at downfield throws. Jackson’s best pass catcher in five seasons has been Mark Andrews, a gifted tight end but certainly not a downfield threat.
Roethlisberger said Beckham’s impact will be greater when a motivated Jackson returns to Baltimore for the 2023 season. At this point, the Ravens appear to be Jackson’s most likely team for the 2023 season, as no team has made him an offer since Baltimore tagged him with the non-exclusive.
With Beckham in tow and Jackson in the right headspace, Roethlisberger believes the duo could work wonders for each other and the Ravens next season. Baltimore hopes to regain control of an AFC North division won by the Bengals in each of the last two seasons.
“It’s a big deal,” Roethlisberger said of Beckham potentially hooking up with Jackson. “That’s a big boost.”