Lamar Jackson was the youngest quarterback to ever start a playoff game. He was the youngest player to ever win the MVP award. He was only the second player to ever win the award unanimously. He has done things, in just two seasons, and 22 starts, that nobody else has ever done. But he hasn’t won a playoff game yet.
That is the part that he cares about. At least that’s the message being conveyed through the grapevine, as Aditi Kinkhabwala recently reported for the NFL Network. “The thing about Jackson that we know is that this is a young man who works incredibly hard, and who absolutely has a chip on his shoulder”, she said.
The reporter relayed a conversation that the team’s quarterbacks coach had with reporters recently, in which he talked about just this regarding Jackson. “None of that has changed”, he said regarding having an edge about him. “He’s not acting like he’s the reigning MVP in any way”.
“Absolutely has a chip on his shoulder…He’s not acting like he is the reigning MVP.”@AKinkhabwala on what @Lj_era8 wants to improve and how the @Ravens offseason additions will make an impact in 2020 👇 pic.twitter.com/DiWk2sQlD4
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) July 5, 2020
The Ravens produced one of the highest-scoring offenses in league history last year, with Jackson leading the league with 36 touchdown passes, in spite of the fact that he only attempted 401 passes and threw for a bit over 3100 yards. He also threw just six interceptions, however, and, on the ground, he set a new quarterback rushing record with over 1200 yards on the season.
He is quickly stating his case for being the most dynamic dual threat quarterback in history, but it will really help to add some playoff wins to his resume. Not that anybody should be really harping on that at this stage of his career. After all, plenty of great players in all sports weren’t immediately winning in the postseason.
Earlier this offseason, Jackson said that he felt the Ravens may have underestimated their 2019 playoff opponents, the Tennessee Titans, who snuck into the playoffs in Week 17 as the sixth seed. Baltimore was the number one seed with a 14-2 postseason record, riding a 12-game winning streak, with a first-round bye, but they were blown out by the visitors.
Repeating and MVP-like performance is rare, though Patrick Mahomes did a fair job of it. in 2018, he threw for over 5000 yards and 50 touchdowns, but they were eliminated in overtime in the AFC Championship game.
Last season, though he missed some time due to injury, he still managed to throw for over 4000 yards, with 26 touchdown passes to five interceptions. He added another 901 yards and 10 touchdown passes over a three-game playoff run that culminated in the Chiefs’ first Super Bowl in 50 years.
Can Jackson follow a similar path?