The Baltimore Ravens have won a lot of regular season games since installing Lamar Jackson as their starting quarterback after selecting him with the 32nd overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. He became the fastest quarterback ever to 30 career wins this past season.
But despite making three trips to the postseason in his three years, he has just one win to show for it, and he has yet to see past the Divisional Round. While it might not necessarily be uncommon for a young quarterback to take a bit of time before advancing to the end stages of the season, there is pressure on Jackson because of the talent around him and because of his own playing style.
While he made NFL history this year in becoming the first quarterback ever to rush for 1000 yards in multiple seasons, he continues to be thoroughly unremarkable as a person throwing a football to other people, which is surprisingly important for his position.
After throwing 36 touchdowns in 2019 and being named the MVP of the league, Jackson was limited to 26 touchdowns this past season with nine interceptions on fewer than 400 pass attempts, throwing for under 2800 yards, while taking a career-high 29 sacks.
The fact that his speed and athleticism makes him a deadly running and scrambling threat on any play remains vital to his game, but the simple fact of the matter is that he needs to be a better quarterback, as we’ve seen time and time again whenever he has had to play from behind.
It probably shouldn’t be surprising that a first-round wide receiver is not thrilled with the fact that the Ravens have one of the bottom-ranked passing offenses in the NFL, but that is the sentiment shared by Marquise Brown after the Ravens’ postseason loss over the weekend.
“Whenever you’re the No. 1 rushing and the 30-something passing, that’s not right”, he said. “That’s not balanced. We got to find a way to balance our game. Even with our great rushing attack, we got to be able to throw the ball and be able to move the ball through the air”.
Brown caught 58 passes in 2020 in his second season for 769 yards and eight touchdowns. He remains a pretty one-dimensional threat, however, and has dropped the football as though he plays for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
While Jackson needs to get better as a quarterback, Baltimore also needs to get him better weapons in the passing game. They can’t draft wide receivers like Pittsburgh does, so they shouldn’t try, when the reality is their most successful players at the position have been free agents.