By Chris Schisler
Lamar Jackson has become one of the most polarizing players in sports. Somehow he did it by being a genuine and decent person, traits that rarely go with the words polarizing. While I understand ESPN and FOX Sports have a vested interest in keeping the debate going, we don’t have to play into it.
Misconception: Lamar Jackson is a running back/ He can’t throw
The first thing people get wrong about Lamar Jackson is the whole idea that he’s a running back or that his throwing ability is lacking. Jackson has dropped way too many dimes down the field to be labeled as a running back. There have been running backs who have been able to throw the occasional touchdown, no running back has ever tossed 36 touchdown passes in a season.
Jackson is different. He’s more of a point guard in the sense that if he can’t make the play with a pass he can drive into the paint. If a running back had to throw 376 times it wouldn’t be pretty. Trust me, Jackson has NFL arm talent. His arm is the most underrated part of his game because he makes the running aspect look so effortless.
Lamar Jackson should have more chances to show his arm talent this season. The Ravens know they need to pass more and the weaponry around their MVP quarterback is boosted substantially. Try passing the ball all over the field with Mark Andrews and Marquise Brown as basically all you have to count on. Try operating with a pocket caved in by D.J. Fluker‘s incompetence.
There are enough highlights of Jackson showing his arm off to get off of this flawed idea that he can’t throw. There’s one Patrick Mahomes. It doesn’t make the quarterbacks who can’t sling it like him running backs.
Misconception: Lamar Jackson can’t win big games
The Baltimore Ravens had to win almost every game in 2018 once Lamar Jackson took over as the starting quarterback. The Ravens had to beat the Los Angeles Chargers in Los Angeles. Do you remember Jackson’s touchdown pass to Mark Andrews? It was the game changer and it allowed Baltimore to stay on the playoff track. Then Jackson and the Ravens beat a Browns team determined to play spoiler in M&T Bank Stadium. Baker vs. Lamar round one went the Ravens way.
In 2019 the Ravens went 14-2 and won 12 games in a row. Did they lose their playoff game? Yes. But beating the Pittsburgh Steelers in Heinz Field, the New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks, the Houston Texans (before the dumpster fire) and the eventual NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers counts as winning four big games.
In 2020, Jackson saved the day against the Cleveland Browns and the Ravens won 47-42. Jackson got his first playoff win. It happened in Tennessee, the team that stopped him a year before. He can’t win big games?
Misconception: It’s not sustainable and the Ravens shouldn’t give him a long-term contract
Jackson is the franchise quarterback of the Baltimore Ravens. He’s the most important player in the entire organization. Because Jackson is a quarterback who has had no less than 147 rushing attempts in a season, people wonder if it’s sustainable.
It doesn’t matter to people when I argue that most quarterback injuries happen in the pocket, or that Jackson does a good job of avoiding the worst hits. People think it’s not sustainable. Jackson rushed 147 times in his rookie season and most of those runs were because it was the only way he could carry the team.
Here’s the thing though, Jackson only started seven times his rookie year. So that was 147 rushes, most of them coming at a heavy rate in the back-end of the season. In 2020 he rushed 159 times in 15 games. That’s about 10 rushing attempts a game. He gives himself up well, doesn’t fight for extra yardage and avoids the kill shots. On those rushing attempts he only gets hit four or five times usually.
It’s also important to remember that Jackson has been a running quarterback his whole life. It’s not new for him to deal with linebackers trying to knock him out of a game. His body is conditioned to the work that he’s in. Jackson is a quarterback but he’s more resilient to hits than your traditional pocket passer.
The Ravens should absolutely give Jackson a long-term deal that breaks the bank. He’s already been a league MVP. He’s taken the Ravens to three straight playoff appearances and his game is going to continue to evolve with experience. The same can be said about the offense around him, it’s a game of constant evolution.
NEXT POST: Lamar Jackson: Stats don’t lie, narratives do
People get it wrong a lot when it comes to the Baltimore Ravens and their quarterback. The important thing is to know what to say when you here one of these bad ideas. That’s what this article is for. That’s what PBN is for.
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