The Rapid Evolution of Baltimore Ravens Star Quarterback Lamar Jackson

The third-year player will not shy away from running the football.

Lamar Jackson has become the pocket passer his critics wanted him to be -  SBNation.com

Lamar Jackson’s ability to run with the football sets him apart from other quarterbacks, but his 36 touchdown throws last season show he’s far from one-dimensional.

Jackson broke an NFL record for yards rushing by a quarterback in 2019, allowing him to earn the league MVP award and lead the Ravens to 12 consecutive wins to finish the regular season.

Lamar Jackson’s ability to run with the football distinguishes him from other quarterbacks, but his 36 touchdown passes last season demonstrate that he’s far from one-dimensional.

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Jackson set an NFL record for yards rushing by a quarterback in 2019, earning him the league MVP title and leading the Ravens to 12 straight wins to complete the regular season.
“To be honest, it doesn’t matter, as long as it helps us win the game,” Jackson said of his downfield runs with the football tucked under his arm. “But I doubt that I am going to be carrying the ball a lot going further into the future because we have dynamic running backs and even more receivers.”

A year ago, Jackson was best known for his ability to run the football. His passing abilities was questionable until he opened the 2019 season by throwing for 324 yards, five touchdowns, and no interceptions in a 59-10 win over the Dolphins, giving him a perfect 158.3 quarterback rating.

“Not bad for a running back,” he said following a rout that kicked off Baltimore’s 14-2 season.

Indeed.

Jackson is coming off one of the best regular seasons of any quarterback in NFL history. He completed 265 of 401 passes for 3,127 yards and 36 touchdowns, an NFL high and team record.

Jackson finished with 1,206 rushing yards, ranking sixth in the league and the most by a quarterback in NFL single-season history.

He is the only quarterback in NFL history to have at least 3,000 throwing yards and 1,000 running yards in a single season. He is also the third quarterback in league history to record at least 35 throwing touchdowns and seven rushing touchdowns in a single season, following Steve Young (1994) and Cam Newton (2015).

Jackson became only the second player in NFL history to receive the Most Valuable Player award with a unanimous vote, following Tom Brady in 2010. He is also the youngest quarterback to win the honor, at 23.

What areas does he need to improve?

“Just like last year, I want to work on everything,” he told reporters. “Whether it’s running, passing, creating new routes, or making deep passes. I believe we need to hit a lot more long passes than we did last year. We had a lot of productivity, and I believe we were a better team than the previous year, at least offensively.

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“The quarantine is slowing everything down right now. I can’t get together with my men to work on timing our routes and anything like that, so that’s a big deal right now,” he said.

Jackson’s remarkable rise has also helped him become one of the NFL’s most popular players. He will appear on the cover of EA Sports’ “Madden 21” when it is published later this year. He mistakenly revealed the information during a Zoom call with the media prior to the company’s official announcement.

The Ravens have also done their utmost to provide Jackson with more weapons. They have chosen four wide receivers in the last two rounds. Following the release of a video of Jackson working out with the mercurial wide receiver, there was talk that the Eagles may consider adding Antonio Brown.

“I’d be happy if we signed him,” Jackson remarked. “He consistently demonstrates his excellence as a player.” But it is not my decision.”

Jackson, however, has lost both of the playoff games of his young career. His goal is to remedy that shortcoming this upcoming season.

“In the NFL, the Super Bowl is the biggest thing, the biggest accomplishment to me, and that’s what I want,” he said. “I want to be able to lift my teammates to being the best in the world at that time. So, that’s what I’m going to do.”

 

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