When Ravens quarterbacks coach James Urban saw Lamar Jackson at the team facility earlier this week, their first in-person meeting since January, he gave his star pupil a big hug.
Only this time, there was more of Jackson to embrace.
After skipping the Ravens’ nine voluntary practices at organized team activities, a bigger, stronger Jackson showed up to this week’s mandatory minicamp. His upper body appears thicker, most notably his arms.
“Physically, he looks imposing,” Urban said Thursday. “He looks very, very good.”
The 6-foot-2 Jackson, in his first news conference in five-plus months, said his playing weight used to be between 205 and 208 pounds. (On the team website, his listed weight is 212 pounds.) But with his new muscle mass, added in offseason workouts with his South Florida-based trainer, he’s up to 220 pounds. Jackson said he feels stronger. He also still feels fast.
“I just wanted to do it, see how it looks, see how it feels,” he said. “And I feel good.”
“Look, this is a game built for big, strong, fast men, right?” Urban said. “So I think he’s checking three of those boxes right now.”
Jackson’s new look at minicamp coincided with a seemingly stronger arm — or at least one more capable of delivering spiral after spiral. Urban attributed his consistency more to his attention to detail than his buffed-up physique, but acknowledged that Jackson’s stronger upper body “sure doesn’t hurt.”
“The fundamentals look really good right now,” he said. “I mean, he’s been impressive these three days. He’s clearly been throwing. He’s clearly been working. ... The velocity, the tight spirals, those things, they look good.”