Author: Steve Lee
Tom Brady, Patrick Mahomes, Russell Wilson. Even before the Baltimore Ravens handed the New England Patriots their first loss of the season last Sunday, there was some idle chatter about quarterback Lamar Jackson joining the select group of potential NFL MVP candidates. Oh, did we mention that Jackson also notched a victory against Wilson and the Seahawks only two weeks prior.
While the old guard of Brady and Drew Brees and Aaron Rogers are still making things happen with their respective teams and contending for the Super Bowl, it seems like the new crop of quarterbacks are primed for a takeover. Based on the eye test, Jackson may have already overtaken Brady and Brees from a fan enjoyment perspective and is most likely tied with Wilson and injured Kansas City Chiefs QB, Mahomes as far as must-see TV.
Currently piloting the NFL’s second ranked offense, Jackson brings back memories of a young Michael Vick in the open field. When finding an open teammate is not an option, Jackson has shown he can easily get the Ravens ten or more yards, as he is currently on pace to break Vick’s single season QB rushing record of over 1,200 yards. With an offence that leads the league with 31.4 points per game, Jackson’s control of the ball is a major reason why the Ravens are contenders for the Super Bowl.
Selected with the 32nd pick, well after Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, Josh Allen and Josh Rosen in the 2018 NFL Draft, there did not seem to be as much pressure on the University of Louisville product as was on his draft class peers. While starting QB Joe Flacco was years past his Super Bowl MVP performance, he was only two seasons removed from a season in which he posted career highs in passing percentage and yards.
With a veteran mentor to learn from, Jackson’s time on the sidelines would end up serving him well as he was able to ease into the starting role when Flacco’s season would come to an end as a result of injury.
In his first full season as a starter, Jackson currently holds a QBR of 69.9, which ranks him just on the outside of the top five QB’s in the league. With coach John Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Greg Roman implementing an offensive game plan that caters to the strengths of their young play caller, Jackson has often been able to make something positive happen regardless of the situation. Some will argue that Jackson’s numbers and the Ravens success is more to do with his offensive options and the teams defense.
However, some of those numbers come from highlight reel plays that spark his teammates and the home crowd, while deflating the energy of the opposition.
The Ravens are presently tied with Buffalo Bills for the second-best record in the AFC and look to be a lock to win the AFC North, especially with Ben Roethlisberger sidelined since week two and out for the remainder of the season. Since taking over for the now departed Flacco in week eleven last season, the Ravens have gone 12-3 during regular season play.
While victories over his elite peers will place Jackson in water cooler talks of his status as one of the best in the game, the only way he will silence the critics is to lead his team deep into the playoffs and compete for a ticket to Florida in February. Will we see Jackson leading the Ravens to a SuperBowl victory?
While is game isn’t the most conventional, with passing numbers that are not mouth dropping, Jackson’s ability to throw and run the ball will potentially leave him finishing the season with historic numbers of over 3000 passing yards and 1000 rushing yards. Hall Of Fame wrestler Ric Flair has been often quoted by saying “To be the man, you’ve got to beat the man”. As of week 9, it appears that Lamar Jackson has done that and more.