Ravens head coach John Harbaugh talks about whether defensive tackle Michael Pierce will be ready to play in the next game.
In a statement issued through the team Tuesday, former Ravens offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg rebutted a report claiming he wanted to move quarterback Lamar Jackson to wide receiver last season.
On Monday, on an episode of “The GM Shuffle,” a podcast hosted by former NFL general manager Michael Lombardi, Lombardi says, “Here’s what happened. The first time he [Lamar Jackson] comes in, Marty Mornhinweg — remember, we’re building the team around him — Marty says to the coaches, this is fact, ‘When are we gonna move him to receiver?’"
“That didn’t happen. Never said that,” Mornhinweg responded in the statement. “My thoughts before the draft, and even more when we started working with Lamar, was that this young man was going to be a special quarterback. Very early we saw that along with all of his throwing and escape abilities, he reads the field as well as any young quarterback I ever worked with.”
Leading up to the 2018 NFL draft, there was speculation over whether Jackson would continue to play quarterback or move to another skill position. Teams reportedly asked Jackson to perform receiver drills at the NFL Scouting Combine, but he refused and the Ravens selected Jackson with the final pick in the first round.
In the same statement, coach John Harbaugh said, “Organizationally, we were on the same page with Lamar, and I thought [former general manager] Ozzie [Newsome] and [general manager] Eric [DeCosta] did a great job to take him where we did.
“Marty was excited from the beginning to coach Lamar and was instrumental in helping him progress through his rookie season.”
Former NFL quarterback Michael Vick, whom Mornhinweg coached with the Philadelphia Eagles, also responded to the report on Monday, siding with his former coach.
“Every conversation I had with Marty Mornhinweg was positive about Lamar,” Vick wrote on Twitter. “Matter of fact we spoke before the draft and we both shared [in-depth] thoughts.. The Ravens drafted Lamar....I seriously doubt that coming from Marty!!!!”
Jackson took over as the Ravens starting quarterback in Week 11 of the 2018 season after longtime starter Joe Flacco suffered a hip injury against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Ravens adjusted their offensive approach with Jackson as the starter, shifting from one of the most pass-happy teams in the league to a run-first offense.
The Ravens hired Mornhinweg in 2016 and he served as offensive coordinator for three seasons. During the offseason, in a desire to overhaul and design an offense more tailored to Jackson’s skill set, the team promoted Greg Roman to offensive coordinator.