Fairly assessing the Lamar Jackson problem for Baltimore Ravens
The third step and the take home lesson:
The third thing the Ravens must do is they must get Jackson in his comfort zone. John Harbaugh’s Ravens made a mistake with Joe Flacco they can’t repeat with Jackson. I say Harbaugh’s Ravens because the offensive coordinators kept changing, but let’s get to the point.
The Ravens tried to make Flacco a Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers or Ben Roethlisberger. They said it’s your offense, now go throw your way to a victory. That’s why 2013-2018 Flacco was underwhelming other than the 2014 season. Before that Flacco was a hand the ball off, make them pay on play-action and manage the game kind of quarterback. He wasn’t the star difference maker he just played one on TV during the 2012 Super Bowl run.
How does this relate to Jackson? The Ravens keep trying to take the next step with this offense. They keep asking for more out of Jackson but, remember the numbers? They’re getting less out of him. The Ravens have to go back to basics. Jackson and the Ravens haven’t been figured out because they’re not doing what they did to make them so successful a year ago. Get Jackson in his comfort zone, let him cook some of that MVP magic and go from there.
Jackson is not Patrick Mahomes and he’s not Russell Wilson. Mahomes is a savant and Wilson is one of the most experienced superstar level quarterback on the planet. Jackson is capable of greatness (Hello, the source of our frustration) however he is not a fully developed quarterback. Don’t force him to fake it.
You either get better or you get worse and right now Jackson has gotten worse. This doesn’t mean he’s not special. He objectively is special. This doesn’t mean he’s bad. It means he’s played bad football. 5-2 hurts. It probably hurts the Ravens Flock more than it really should, but it stings horribly.
It is such a deep wound, because the Ravens came into this season expected to roll themselves to another big playoff game, where they could either get over a hump or be in the same exact spot. This was a year where greatness was the only acceptable outcome.
The take home lesson:
Expectations aren’t the problem, but they are causing a lot of the actual problem. Think about it. You, the fan, wants Jackson to take that next step and be an elite quarterback from every front. The entire Ravens organization set that same bar for him. Instead of trying to replicate a good thing, the Ravens tried to build off of it. Now they lost their page and they can’t find where they left off.
Jackson is the Ravens quarterback of the moment and almost certainly the future. There is no finality to any of this. It is just as important not to overreact as it is to be honest about the problem. If the Ravens can restore his confidence, get him more help and go back to his comfort zone, this downward trajectory can be reversed. Go do it Ravens.