It’s NFL Draft week and that’s been our focus. The Ravens world still revolves around the second unanimous MVP in NFL history, Lamar Jackson. How can Jackson pick it up in 2020:
Lamar Jackson stepped into the world of Patrick Mahomes, Tom Brady and Russell Wilson last year. He became one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. Jackson proved himself. Now he has to get even better to get the Baltimore Ravens to the Super Bowl. How can Jackson improve?
The first thing that Jackson needs to work on is the timing of his throws. There were more than a handful of times where Jackson misfired just because his timing was off. His accuracy was completely improved. His ball was much more on a rope. The timing is the last thing that Jackson really needs to fix.
The Arizona Cardinals game is a great example of Jackson’s inconsistency with timing. He had a couple incredible throws in the game. The one throw he had to seal the win was to Marquise Brown. It was right where it had to be in a very tight window.
Then there were throws where he fired the ball behind or way in front of his targets. The Cardinals game showed you that when he gets it right it’s incredible. It also showed you that consistency with timing is the one thing that isn’t always there.
Jackson has incredible poise however sometimes he gets too excited and fires high and hard. Mark Andrews had a drop in the playoffs against the Titans. Now, he should have caught the pass yet Jackson didn’t deliver a perfect pass. Andrews had a drop in the loss to the Browns in which the ball was behind him and he couldn’t pull it in and keep his stride.
That’s also why his two games with multiple interceptions in the 2019 regular season came back to back. When Jackson is on he doesn’t turn the ball over. When he’s a bit off that’s when the interceptions come. It’s all about timing and rhythm from this point forward. He’s changed his mechanics for the better now he has to double down on that and become a technician.
It’s really the only thing that is really off about his game. There really isn’t much to critique about his game. He led the league in touchdown passes. He broke a record for rushing yards by a quarterback. There’s no reason to doubt him. In fact there never really was.
Miles Boykin was recently on the Jim Rome show. The receiver going into his second season with the Ravens touched on his experience with Jackson. He touched on several things like how good of a leader Jackson was and how much respect he has in the locker room. The most interesting answer came to Rome’s question about people who doubted the MVP.
This is what Boykin said in his interview on the Jim Rome show:
"“I still remember getting into the OTA’s and camp and then people back home or people or… people that I knew would be like how’s Lamar, can he throw and this and that, and I was like it’s crazy that people are asking this question. I don’t know how to tell them, like I would tell them, yes he can throw, wait till you see him in the season…Everybody who played with him, we all knew this was coming.”"
Going into 2019 there were a lot of questions as Boykin alluded to. Now there’s really only one thing that Jackson has to work on. Jackson is always going to be one of the most exciting weapons in the NFL. He is building a case that he may be the best dual threat quarterback in the history of football. If Jackson could address so many concerns last offseason, he can certainly address one main issue with his game this offseason.
Jackson is already an NFL MVP. Jackson has one full season as a starter under his belt. If Jackson gets better at finding his rhythm and timing as a passer and becomes a more anticipatory thrower, he’s going to be even better.