Ask a Ravens fan, and they’ll tell you quarterback Lamar Jackson has an irreplicable style that can dominate on the gridiron on any given down. Ask NFL fans, and you might get the half-serious jokes that he’s a running back, or he’s not in the same caliber as other signal callers across the NFL.
But NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks doesn’t have that consideration, and thinks Jackson’s “so-called slump from the former NFL MVP in 2021 has led some observers to have amnesia when recalling Jackson’s impact as a playmaker on the perimeter.”
“After tallying a pair of 1,000-yard seasons as a rusher, defensive coordinators are well aware of his ability to take over the game on the ground,” Brooks wrote. “No. 8 is an explosive runner with superb ball-handling skills as an option quarterback executing a variety of power-read and counter-read plays. He has shown the ability to take it the distance as a runner from anywhere on the field and that forces opponents to pay extra attention to him in the box. With the fifth-year pro displaying enough proficiency as a passer down the middle of the field to punish opponents for overplaying the run, defensive coordinators have to pick and choose when to ratchet up the pressure against a quarterback who possesses the athleticism and arm talent to counter aggressive tactics.”
Brooks isn’t alone in thinking NFL fans may have forgotten about Jackson’s ability on the field; CBS Sports’ Jeff Kerr believes Jackson is one of the most underappreciated players in the NFL.
“What does Lamar Jackson have to do to earn the respect he deserves? Since Jackson took over as the Ravens’ starter in Week 11 of the 2018 season, Baltimore is 37-12 — a .755 winning percentage,” Kerr wrote. “He’s the first quarterback in league history to reach 35 career victories before the age of 25 and is already seventh all-time in rushing yards (3,673) among NFL quarterbacks.”
Kerr didn’t stop there. Instead, he shared the abundance of achievements Jackson has earned over his short but extraordinary NFL tenure.
“Jackson is the fastest quarterback in league history to reach 5,000 passing yards and 2,000 rushing yards (35 games), and his 10 100-yard rushing games are tied with Michael Vick for the most in league history. He also is the only quarterback to rush for 1,000 yards in a season twice. His five games with 200 passing yards and 100 rushing yards are the most in league history.
Jackson gets a lot of flak for being a running quarterback, but he led the league in touchdown passes (36) and touchdown percentage (9.0) during his MVP season in 2019,” Kerr wrote. “He’s the only quarterback in NFL history with multiple three-plus passing touchdowns and 100-plus rushing yard performances in the same game. He recorded at least 200 passing yards and 50 rushing yards in seven games last season, tying his own mark (2019) and Randall Cunningham (1990) for the most such games in a season in NFL history.”
When Jackson—and his team—is healthy, there’s few teams that are capable of beating them. As Kerr noted, he and the Ravens boast a .755 win percentage when Jackson’s on the field. He has at times carried the Ravens’ offense—notably against the Tennessee Titans in the 2020 wildcard round where he helped them climb back from an early 10-0 deficit. For Kerr, he’s a player who puts the Ravens in the win column.
“When Jackson is on the field, the Ravens win,” Kerr wrote. “He’s highly underappreciated around the league.”