Ravens: Lamar Jackson petitioning for increased QB protection

Lamar Jackson, Ravens (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images)
Lamar Jackson, Ravens (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images) /

First, it was the “Will the league figure him out?” controversy. Now, it’s taking late hits from defenders and not getting calls. Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson just can’t catch a break.

In the Ravens’ decisive win over the Denver Broncos in Week 4, many noticed that Jackson was the target of several late hits that the referees either didn’t notice or turned a blind eye to.

The 2019 NFL MVP himself felt like some of these unsportsmanlike plays warranted a flag, especially this hit below:

Twitter users shared Jackson’s frustration with the no-calls and believe the league may not be giving Jackson the respect he deserves.

Jackson recently spoke to ESPN about the issue to make it clear he wasn’t looking for any “special treatment” from the officials. What he did want, though, was more consistent and scrutinizing calls on late hits to protect all quarterbacks in the league.

Even if Jackson claims this is a league-wide problem, the numbers reveal just how many times that Jackson has had to take a hit (pun intended). Spoiler: it’s a lot.

Ravens QB Lamar Jackson wants to protect all NFL QBs from unnecessary roughing

On Jackson’s past 600 dropbacks, the star QB hasn’t received a single roughing-the-passer penalty. His opponents have been flagged for this penalty seven times in Jackson’s 41 starts, but not since December of 2019.

From the beginning of the 2020 season up until now, there have been 162 roughing the passer calls, and none of those have been for hits on Jackson.

Jackson has since developed a reputation for his superb poise and running abilities. Given the nature of his game, he quickly shut down the idea of quarterbacks wearing more pads for protection.

"“I feel like if I put on extra pads and stuff like that, I’ll be looking like a Transformer. I don’t want to be slowed down.”"

Jackson has a point here. The onus must be placed on referees to call those penalties, not on players to try and protect themselves from something they literally can’t see coming.

Referees have already been instructed to look out for “taunting.” Why shouldn’t late QB hits be a priority, too? They are, after all, much more dangerous and just as unsportsmanlike.

Jackson sat out a few practices due to a sore back, which could be partly attributed to a few particular reckless Denver tackles.

The issue of protection arguably affects Jackson the most since he more often puts himself in harm’s way as a prolific running quarterback.

Jackson loses the luxurious protection of staying in the pocket that Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, or other less mobile QBs get simply due to his playing style.

But this shouldn’t be the case, and moving forward, the referees shouldn’t see late hit-calling as “special treatment” for Jackson.

While he naturally wants this safeguard for himself, he also wants to protect the future of the dual-threat quarterback position.

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As the game changes, the penalties need to adapt, too. Lamar Jackson’s remarks are indeed a fiery call to action, and the league should consider cracking down on late hits before someone’s career irrevocably suffers for it.