NFL: Don't dismiss Ravens QB Lamar Jackson
The 2020 NFL season has been a rough one for Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson.
The 2019 Most Valuable Player hasn't been able to find the same magic in 2020. While Jackson has shown flashes of last season's brilliance, he hasn't been as productive and the Ravens haven't been as successful.
In 10 starts, Jackson has thrown for 1,948 yards while completing 63.4 percent of his passes, firing 15 touchdown passes against six interceptions. His Adjusted QBR is 61.8, down from last season's league-leading 82.3 Adjusted QBR.
Known more as a runner than a passer, Jackson hasn't been as explosive in that area, either. After setting a new QB rushing record of 1,206 yards in 15 games last season, Jackson has gained 575 yards on the ground this season, well behind last season's pace.
The Ravens are 6-4 in Jackson's 10 starts this season after going 13-2 in his 15 starts last season. Coming off a campaign in which they were the AFC's top playoff seed, now they're fighting just to get into the playoffs.
To top it off, Jackson missed last week's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers after testing positive for COVID-19 -- a game that was pushed back multiple times due to a COVID outbreak on the Ravens roster -- and his status for this week's game against the Dallas Cowboys was still up in the air well into the weekend.
As long as the Ravens are alive for a playoff spot, however, don't count Lamar Jackson out. He is still as talented as any player in the NFL and as dangerous as anyone with the football in his hands.
Lamar Jackson's road to NFL stardom
Lamar Jackson has gone from the last pick in the first round to MVP.
The Baltimore Ravens would select the QB out of the University of Louisville with their 32nd pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. The Louisville Cardinals quarterback would sit back and watch four quarterbacks go before him. Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, and Josh Rosen would all be selected before Lamar Jackson.
This put a chip on the young quarterback's shoulder. The big knock on Lamar Jackson was his frame. NFL scouts were not sure that he could withstand the hits he would take from NFL defenses. Jackson was bombarded with questions about if he would be interested in playing another position. His answer always remained the same: "I am a quarterback."
Lamar Jackson's college career
Jackson would put together an outstanding college football career at the University of Louisville. This would land him the top award in college football, the Heisman Trophy. Louisville understood that Lamar Jackson was going to make plays with his feet and was explosive.
They implemented an offense that would fit him perfectly. Jackson played majority of his college football snaps in the shotgun or pistol formations. This gave him the option to read the field and pick his spots to run or pass.
During his three years at Louisville, Lamar Jackson would put together great numbers. Lamar would pass for 9,043 yards with 69 touchdowns and 27 interceptions. The part that had NFL teams looking was Lamar Jackson's rushing numbers. Jackson would rush for 4,132 yards and 50 rushing touchdowns.
The NFL scouts graded him as a quarterback, but also as an athlete. Jackson wanted to be an NFL quarterback, and he had no interest in playing another position. Going into the 2018 NFL Draft there were a lot of questions about Lamar Jackson and what position he would play.
Lamar Jackson's 2019 MVP season
The NFL Draft came and Lamar Jackson seen four different quarterbacks selected before hearing his name. The Baltimore Ravens took a gamble on the Louisville quarterback and it has paid off. Lamar Jackson has out performed the four quarterbacks that were selected before him.
In the 2019 NFL season, Lamar Jackson would put together a historic set of stats for the Baltimore Ravens. Jackson would rack up 3,127 passing yards, 36 touchdowns(led the NFL), and 6 interceptions. The Ravens quarterback would complete 66.1% of his passes and record a QBR rating of 82.3.
Lamar Jackson would rush 176 times for 1,206 rushing yards(led all QB in NFL rushing) and seven touchdowns in the 2019 NFL Season. Jackson would become the second quarterback in NFL history to lead the NFL in passing touchdowns and quarterback rushing yards. The only other quarterback to this was Hall-of-Famer Steve Young.
The Baltimore Ravens quarterback would also break Michael Vicks single-season rushing record for a quarterback. It had became a fact that Lamar Jackson could play quarterback in the NFL. Lamar would top off his record breaking 2019 NFL Season with being crowned with the NFL MVP award.