Lamar Jackson: Reasonable expectations are key
Lamar Jackson is obviously an important piece of the puzzle in the 2019 season. Setting reasonable expectations is important:
The Baltimore Ravens have given Lamar Jackson the starting quarterback position. The hope is that this is the beginning of a new era, one that can stand up against the Joe Flacco era when it is all said and done. Expectations are such a huge part of how we perceive results. There is a lot on Jackson’s shoulders but what should we really expect? Jackson’s critics are ready to write him off while his advocates are making big predictions. The truth usually lies somewhere in the middle.
Jackson will have bumps along the way but he should make huge strides as a starting quarterback. There will be some games in which Jackson looks like the real deal. There will be some games where he looks like a young quarterback trying to figure things out. One thing that seems likely is that Jackson will have ups and downs.
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When the Ravens inserted a new offense this offseason and it was a surprise to Jackson, it wasn’t a great look. The Ravens surely should have done a better job communicating with their up and coming quarterback. At the same time, Jackson should have known that a new offensive coordinator would probably lead to some big changes.
Jackson not having a firm control of the offense in May or June isn’t a big deal at all. He’s still getting the hang of everything. While he has to improve as a passer, it’s important not to judge him as a finished product. If Jackson is having trouble with the playbook at the end of August, concern will be merited. For now, trust that he will put in the work and be fine.
He isn’t the quarterback he will become in the future. He has a ton of potential. He needs to show two things. First, he needs to show that the Ravens can win with him as the quarterback. Secondly he needs to show that he has the ability to be a great quarterback. He has to start putting it together.
What we’ve seen so far is a quarterback who went 6-2 as a starting quarterback so far. He’s made big plays with both his arm and his legs. He has flashed an incredible skill set, yet the sample size is so small. If the Ravens can have a winning season with Jackson under center, and things start to click a bit, the Ravens know they have their guy.
What you don’t want to see is Jackson overthinking things on the field. If he gets in his head that is where hesitation comes in. That will either lead to late throws that get intercepted or missed opportunities in the passing game. The key is to foster Jackson’s confidence and not to harp on him avoiding mistakes as a passer.
The moral of the story is that Jackson will have great moments and bad ones. He might be the next big thing, but he isn’t immune to the factors of his inexperience and the progress he needs to make. Jackson will get on the job training. It should make for a fun and exciting season, but to think there won’t be any hiccups would be silly. Jackson’s performance won’t be on either extreme. He will continue to show jaw dropping talent while working through his weaknesses.