Lamar Jackson is ahead of schedule in the progression of his career
Lamar Jackson is amazing. He’s also finished the first full year of his career as a starting quarterback. Stop looking at him like a finished product:
The Baltimore Ravens should be thrilled about where Lamar Jackson is in this point of his career. The first full year of Jackson being an NFL starter is in the books and it could (and should) net him an MVP award. Jackson had the best season a Baltimore Ravens quarterback has ever had, and losing in the playoffs doesn’t change that.
Going into the 2019 season, there were a lot of Lamar Jackson doubters. There were people saying he couldn’t throw. There were people suggesting that he wouldn’t last a full season because of the risk associated with running the football as much as he does. When the 2019 season started there were Jackson believers and Jackson doubters and there wasn’t much in between. Whether it was fair or not, Jackson had to prove that he was legitimately the new franchise quarterback.
The 2019 season showed that Jackson is a superstar. The Ravens had a 14-2 season and Jackson played incredibly. He had two games with a perfect passer rating. He had three games with five touchdowns. Jackson broke the record for rushing yards in a season by a quarterback and still had over 3,000 yards in the air. There is no highlight reel more exciting than that of the year Jackson just had.
Jackson has proven doubters wrong before, and that’s a practice he won’t retire anytime soon. The latest knock on Jackson is that he can’t get it done in the playoffs. He’s been to the postseason twice and has two frustrating losses to show for it. The beginning of the previous sentence contained the keywords. Jackson has been to the the playoffs twice. It’s very doubtful that the game against the Titans will be the last of his playoff experience. He has plenty of time to prove that he can get it done in the playoffs.
Jackson’s game against the Titans wasn’t great, yet let’s not pretend it was the same as his first playoff performance against the Los Angeles Chargers. Jackson had one of the worst games you’ll ever see from a quarterback against the Chargers. Until Jackson let it rip, with the game basically out of reach, he had nothing good to take from that game.
Against the Titans he still had three turnovers (one of which is squarely Mark Andrews‘s fault), however Jackson was the only offense Baltimore had. Jackson had 365 yards through the air and rushed for 143 yards on the ground. His running backs only had nine rushing attempts. Jackson was asked to put the team on his back. He was pressing and he was a little off. It wasn’t a good game, but half the criticism being piled on to Jackson is unmerited. He did everything he could in a poorly coached game that got away from the Ravens.
Jackson has progressed further than he could have been reasonably expected to. All Jackson had to do to win confidence moving forward was to get the Ravens to a winning record, and to makes improvements as a passer. Jackson looked like a completely improved passer this past season and he helped the Ravens on an impressive 12 game winning streak.
Jackson put up 4,333 yards of total production. He had 43 total touchdowns, 36 of which came in the air. Jackson completed 66.1 percent of his passes and had a passer rating of 113.3 in his first full season as a starting quarterback. Jackson broke the franchise record for touchdown passes. Even his biggest supporters have to admit that Jackson is further ahead than they thought he would be.
Other than Patrick Mahomes, is there a young quarterback with even half the promise and potential that Jackson has? Jackson is all ready a top 10 quarterback in the NFL. Joe Flacco never was a top 10 quarterback. A little patience is required here, because Jackson is going to have an incredible career.