Lamar Jackson is coming off a historic season, during which he not only led the NFL in touchdown passes, but also broke the quarterback rushing record and became just the second-ever unanimous MVP for 2019. The Baltimore Ravens went 14-1 and finished with the top seed in the AFC. But when they needed him to step up in the playoffs, he didn’t.
The former Heisman trophy winner is still a young player. Just two years ago, as a rookie, he became the youngest quarterback to ever start a postseason game, so suffice it to say that he still has a long future ahead of him. But the Ravens want to see him improve, gradually but steadily, and in many areas.
“Picture a bar graph and there’s 50 or 60 things that every day you’re measured in each category at.”, said offensive coordinator Greg Roman, via the team’s website. “If you can get all 50 of those up 2 percent or 3 percent, then you’re a much better player at the end of the day”.
“I think there’s a magic to his style and how he plays – some creativity. We always want to focus that creativity and that energy into winning football and winning football decisions on the field – accuracy, timing, vision, all those things. It’s a constant, slow, steady upward tick in all those different categories”.
Even as a Pittsburgh Steelers fan, it’s not hard to see where superlatives like ‘magic’ and ‘creativity’ come from when you see some of the plays that Jackson has been able to make, either with his legs or with his arm—or a combination of both. There’s no doubt that he is a very talented player and a very rare athlete.
But he’s not a complete player yet, and if he ever becomes one, that’ll be pretty scary, quite frankly. He still has to work on his throwing motion, improve his reads, among other things, all issues that he is aware of, and which he has talked about. His head coach mentioned how he wants Jackson to be able to reliably make any pass to any part of the field.
“And a lot of times, the way our offense sets up sometimes, those throws will be outside, intermediate or downfield – downfield down the middle or down the sidelines”, he said. “It can be on the sidelines with outs, comebacks, deep curls, deep stop routes. It can be deep stop routes over the middle. These are all types of routes that we have time to throw, a lot of times. If we can, really, [we want to] more and more hurt people”.
That’s not Jackson yet. And they haven’t needed him to be. They don’t run an offense that relies upon his arm, though it greatly benefits from it. They literally attempted fewer passes than anybody else in the league last season, despite leading in points scored