Somewhere in Maryland is a neighborhood dotted with budding Ravens. In the humid days to come, buzzing with the hum of insects and maybe even the sound of a football clapping against skin, rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson and wide receiver Willie Snead IV will be together.
“Oh, we’re going to try. We’re going to try,” Jackson said at the Ravens minicamp last week.
According to Snead, he and Jackson, as well as wide receiver John Brown, reside in the same neighborhood, though he wouldn’t disclose where for obvious reasons. The fledgling quarterback and some of his receivers plan to hang out over the summer, a gathering that will help establish crucial bonds Jackson needs to make with his future crew off the field.
“I’m lucky to live down the street from Lamar. To be able to get that extra time in, you know, that’s going to help huge,” Snead said. “Just staying in the playbook, knowing the receivers and the nuances of what the coordinators want from Lamar, that’s gonna be huge.”
Jackson’s life has been consumed with football since at least the NFL scouting combine, with visits leading up to the draft followed by rookie minicamp, organized team activities and last week’s mandatory minicamp with the Ravens, as he’s worked closely with coach John Harbaugh and coordinators to evolve from college to the NFL before reporting to training camp in July.
While he has only crumbs of free time between now and then, Jackson said he just “can’t get away” from the game anyway.
“We’ve got to have chemistry. That can’t just happen,” Jackson said of getting together with Snead. “We’re trying to win games this year, that’s all.”
The quarterback-receiver party might mirror that of Joe Flacco’s, which the 33-year old veteran has said since April that he plans to hold with his supporting cast at some point in the summer. Training sessions between quarterbacks and receivers are uncommon for Flacco, who hasn’t usually held them outside of team sessions during his 10 years as the starter. But across the rest of the league, they’re commonplace.
“We’re all here together, we all grind together. We’re a team. That’s what it’s all about,” Jackson said.