Heisman package is latest wrinkle to Ravens' 'indefensible' offense

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OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- The debut of the Baltimore Ravens "Heisman package" -- the formation with Lamar Jackson, Mark Ingram II and Robert Griffin III -- produced 12 yards Sunday.

The real gain for the Ravens: creating another headache for opposing defenses.

"Don’t think for one second that Greg Roman, their offensive coordinator, did not use that Heisman package on purpose," said Dan Orlovsky, a former NFL quarterback who is now an ESPN analyst. "Think about the manpower it takes to prepare for this offense before the triple option with the Heisman (winners) ever came into play. And now you’ve added another wrinkle that has multiple wrinkles within it with that Heisman package -- the Ravens are indefensible."

Baltimore is the NFL's highest scoring team (33.3 points per game) because of its unique offense. No other team has a quarterback or system like the Ravens with all of their option plays, blocking schemes, formations and motions.

The Ravens know defensive coordinators only have so much time to adjust to their style of play. Now, the challenge is compounded by putting two dual-threat quarterbacks on the field at the same time. With this Heisman package -- or should it be called the quadruple threat package -- Jackson and Griffin are both capable of throwing or running with the ball.

It's probably not a coincidence that the Ravens used this play a week before facing the AFC South-leading Houston Texans, who are on a bye heading into Sunday's game in Baltimore.

"I promise you, Greg Roman doesn’t just have one play on this," Orlovsky said. "He’s got two, three, four, five plays. So, now as a defensive coach, it takes so much time to prepare for this offense."

The Ravens became the first team in 31 years to have three Heisman winners run the ball in the same game, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The 1988 Los Angeles Raiders did this with Tim Brown, Bo Jackson and Marcus Allen.

Baltimore began to practice its Heisman package recently, but it's been talked about for a while.

"Guys like to have fun," coach John Harbaugh said. "And one thing we have is we have a lot of athletes. He’s an athlete who can really throw the ball. He’s a quarterback. So, why wouldn’t we have stuff like that up if we can?"

In Sunday's 49-13 win over the Cincinnati Bengals, the Ravens unveiled the Heisman package in the second quarter after their lead had been cut to 14-3. On second-and-4 at the Baltimore 45-yard line, Jackson lined up in the pistol formation with Griffin to his left and Ingram to his right.

After faking the handoff to Ingram, Jackson ran right off-tackle for three yards until a Bengals cornerback Darqueze Dennard got close. Jackson then pitched the ball to his right to Griffin, who ran for an additional nine yards before going out of bounds.

"Sometimes you might say, ‘Why not throw the pass first?’ I did ask that question," Harbaugh said. "But they’ll be looking for that, and maybe something else will come off of it. So, we’ll see.”

Jackson, Ingram and Griffin represent three of the past 10 winners of college football's most prestigious award. Ingram won the Heisman with Alabama in 2009, Griffin took the award with Baylor in 2011 and Jackson received the honor with Louisville in 2016.

Griffin said Jackson, Ingram and himself have been asking for this package for weeks.

"Mark really pushed the envelope this week and suggested a Heisman package," Griffin said. "All of us are pretty dangerous with the ball in our hands. It worked out, and that’s what I was most excited about. Who knows how we’ll build on this.”