Ravens: Lamar Jackson is the NFL’s ‘most polarizing star’
By Kristen Wong
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is the milk-before-cereal guy in the league right now, and his critics are raising their voices louder than ever heading into the 2021 season.
First, it was whether teams were going to “figure out” Jackson’s game.
Coincidentally (or not), the same analyst who doubted Jackson’s talents has written another article that serves as more of a collection of opinions from NFL executives, scouts, coaches, and the like.
ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, along with his circle of football gurus, came up with a consensus pick for different award categories, and who would’ve thought? Lamar Jackson wins for “most polarizing” star in the league.
We can think of a few other adjectives to describe him, but Fowler came up with “polarizing.”
This will be Jackson’s fourth year in Baltimore, and he’s getting more hot takes than Justin Herbert or Josh Allen, who are still regarded as top-caliber quarterbacks despite recency bias. e In his defense, Fowler claims he’s merely pointing out that Jackson’s skeptics exist.
After the Ravens’ offense finished last in passing in 2020, those skeptics have started to murmur about whether Jackson can be a consistently elite player when his game and the Ravens’ game revolves around one thing: running the ball.
Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson’s ceiling is up for debate…again
Fowler quotes a few anonymous NFL executives who doubt Jackson’s accuracy and believe he shrinks in the playoffs. “Make him beat you throwing,” one says, as if directly challenging Jackson himself.
Baltimore already knows Jackson’s running capability can only take them so far after last year’s pitiful results and has been working on improving their passing offense this offseason.
Jackson, to his credit, has also been upping his game as his critics speak, including working with a mechanics coach on his footwork and proper throwing technique in practices.
His 1-3 record and passing statistics in the postseason (55.5 percent pass completion rate, five interceptions, 6.6 yards per attempt) continue to cast shadows on his 2019 MVP year, but if the league’s been trying to “figure him out,” Jackson’s been patiently putting in the work to figure his opponents out, too.
Whatever imaginary wall people think he’s bound to hit may not be the end of the road for Jackson. Rather, it’s just one more hurdle on his way to another record-shattering year.
The red-hot controversy that surrounds the Ravens star quarterback in 2021 generates more questions than answers at this point: Is Lamar Jackson a one-trick pony? Does his run-first game make him a lesser quarterback? Can the Ravens do more to help Jackson evolve?
As Fowler said, Jackson is the NFL’s most polarizing player this season (partially because of comments Fowler made himself) and Jackson will just have to prove his critics wrong.
Given what he’s accomplished in the league so far, he shouldn’t have to, but it’s the easiest way he can shut out the noise.
Not a top-10 QB? Ridiculous.