Lamar Jackson is best difference maker in the NFL

BALTIMORE, MD - OCTOBER 13: Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens throws a pass against the Cincinnati Bengals during the first half at M&T Bank Stadium on October 13, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - OCTOBER 13: Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens throws a pass against the Cincinnati Bengals during the first half at M&T Bank Stadium on October 13, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images) /

Whether or not he wins the MVP award, Lamar Jackson is the best difference maker in the NFL:

Lamar Jackson is 12-3 as a starting quarterback in the regular season. He came in for Joe Flacco last year and immediately, the Ravens got exciting. He improved as a passer during the offseason, he bulked up too, and now his running strategy is a lot more tactful than it was in his rookie season. Last year, the Ravens were just trying to get by with Jackson as the quarterback and they still went on a 6-1 run to end the season. This year the Ravens have become a juggernaut.

The NFL is a copycat league, yet there isn’t a team in the NFL that can mimic this offense. They can’t prepare for it, they can’t do it themselves and NFL defensive coordinators have been stumped. If Jackson plays mistake free football, the Ravens are one of the hardest teams to beat in the NFL. There have been running quarterbacks, there have been dual threats, Jackson is different. He’s the biggest difference maker in football.

The Ravens average over 200 rushing yards per game. The combination of Jackson, Mark Ingram II and Gus Edwards is borderline unstoppable. The Ravens churn out a couple of long drives every game. The offense takes control of the game with drives that last eight to nine minutes. Jackson is the key ingredient to the best running game in football. He makes a good running game possibly the best ground attack we’ve ever seen.

Jackson doesn’t get enough credit for his work as a passer. In six of the eight games in the books this year, Jackson completed over 60 percent of his passes. His passer rating for the season is 94.1. He’s a young quarterback and the passing component is the one that he’s still building, yet he’s quite proficient with his arm. It doesn’t matter how many yards he throws for. It’s not the total number that matters here, it’s also the efficiency.

Jackson has thrown for 1,813 yards and he’s run for 637. Jackson has 2,450 total yards. The leading passer in the NFL is Phillip Rivers with 2,609 yards. Rivers throws for 289.9 yards per contest. Jackson averages 226.6 yards in the air per contest and manages to run for 79.6 yards per game. Who makes the bigger impact?

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Jackson plays the most important position on the field and he is finding an entirely new method of production. He doesn’t run occasionally. He’s not just a scrambler. Jackson has over 10 rushing attempts in almost every game and he makes them count, while managing to avoid big hits almost entirely.

The narrative that the Patriots were going to expose him was based on a false premise. The idea that Jackson was running an unsustainable offense or that Jackson was being run into the ground has been proven false. If you’re watching the games, you know that Jackson is playing smart and that when he passes he typically has a quick release from the pocket.

Jackson scrambles when he has to, runs when he wants to and he’s playing chess, not checkers. If you want to talk about a quarterback who doesn’t read defenses, and who is struggling to play the game  in a cerebral fashion, you want to talk about Baker Mayfield. Jackson sees the field like a good quarterback. He has a full command on the offense and firm grasp of the Ravens’ game plan. The idea that the Patriots were going to dismantle the Ravens was based on the false assumption that this offense is a gimmick.

The Patriots have one of the best defenses in the NFL and Bill Belichick has a reputation as a defensive mastermind. If that team can’t stop Jackson with scheme and sound fundamental defense, maybe the conventional football world doesn’t have an answer for what Jackson bring to the table. I’m not going to sit here at my keyboard and pretend that I know more than a head coach with six Super Bowl rings.

When you part from the false ideas about Jackson’s game and you look at what happens in the actual game, you see that he is the biggest difference maker in football. He is the only player who can do what he is doing, and there isn’t a player from the past who did what he is doing. He is special and the Ravens are brilliant for letting him be who he is as a quarterback. That’s the take that the eye test gives you.

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The Ravens had a tough test against the Seahawks. Marcus Peters gave the Ravens momentum, yet Jackson was the one who took over the game. The Ravens had to take on the undefeated Patriots. Jackson took over the game and the Patriots have been defeated. It’s gotten to the point where it doesn’t matter if Jackson has won you over. It doesn’t matter. There isn’t an argument to be had. Jackson makes a bigger impact than any player in the NFL.