Suggest to Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh that there are issues and limitations in his team’s passing game, and he’s liable to get a bit defensive after a while. That is what seems to have happened yesterday during his post-season press conference following Baltimore’s loss to the Buffalo Bills this past weekend.
In the wake of yet another abbreviated postseason for one of the most successful and high-scoring regular season offenses of the past three years, we have seen a growing amount of criticism from many angles, including from prominent members of the media, talking about how Baltimore’s Achilles’ heel of a play-with-a-lead passing game.
Harbaugh was asked about some of these criticisms, and he spent a good deal of time defending their passing game, saying that they are not simplistic as some have suggested, that they have every concept in their playbook, and that they have been generally efficient when they do pass.
“The reason I’m strong on this is because it goes back to the same criticisms that we’ve heard for the last three years about not being the type of an offense, or the type of a quarterback, that some people want to see”, he said, referencing Jackson, whom many believed should convert to another position when he came out of college.
“They’re just going to have to live with it, because Lamar Jackson has won a lot of football games here”, he went on. “Our offense has won us a lot of football games here, and we’re not apologizing for that for one second. We are going to improve it, no question about it. We’re going to go to work to be more precise, more efficient [and] better at what we do”.
“That’s what we have to do – be better at it. We’ll leave the criticism to the critics, and when they’re ready to coordinate their offense and put their product on the field, I’ll be looking forward to competing against it”.
That’s a pretty strong statement, and really, it’s kind of what you have to say. Jackson is your quarterback no matter what, and he is who he is. He certainly is capable of continuing to improve in terms of his passing ability and his ability to diagnose defenses and work through his reads, but the odds of him ever developing into an Aaron Rodgers-level passer are…low.
His ability to run the ball is an essential part of who he is. He has a strong argument to make that he is already the greatest runner from the quarterback position in NFL history. The question is, can he become efficient enough of a quarterback when it matters most to win it all?