Ravens: Lamar Jackson has made significant strides as a passer

Lamar Jackson, Ravens (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
Lamar Jackson, Ravens (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) /
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Lamar Jackson, Ravens
Lamar Jackson, Ravens (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) /

Lamar Jackson is an elite arm talent

Sunday’s win against the Broncos feels to be the first time Jackson is receiving national praise for his development as a passer, but the signs have been there all season.

Through the first three weeks of the season, Jackson ranked third in Pro Football Focus’ big-time throw percentage.

The Athletic’s Ben Baldwin graphed PFF’s big-time throw percentage versus turnover-worthy play percentage, and Jackson’s placement is telling.

As the graph states, Jackson can be classified as a risk-taker. He pushes the ball downfield, tries to score points, and tries to make tight-window throws at a very high rate.

It is important to consider that the turnover-worthy play percentage includes fumble-worthy plays (whatever that means), which could heavily contribute to Jackson’s higher percentage of such plays.

PFF classifies a big-time throw as a pass with “excellent ball location, generally further down the field and/or into a tight window.” Watching Jackson play this season will confirm what the graph tells us.

While Jackson can put the ball in harm’s way on occasion, he often picks out receivers with excellent accuracy at all levels.

In every game this season he has produced some big-time throws, whether they were caught or not, and he is doing at it at a rate matched by the best QBs in the NFL.

His improvement isn’t only obvious to the viewers, though, as passing has been a bigger part of the Ravens’ offense than in years past — especially on first down.

Jackson ranks first in the NFL in play-action pass attempts (51), first in first down play-action pass attempts (35 with a 109 passer rating), first in air yards per attempt (11.6), and first in yards per completion (14.36).

Overall, the Ravens are passing on 51.53 percent of their plays, the highest in Jackson’s career – the previous high was 45.93 percent in 2019.

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Greg Roman and the Ravens coaching staff are clearly more confident than ever in Jackson’s ability to pass the ball, and pass the ball more than run it.

Not bad for a running back.