Ravens players are once again being asked to defend quarterback Lamar Jackson after criticism from the national media. This time, it’s from an anonymous NFL defensive coordinator.
In an article Athletic Ranking quarterbacks based on a survey of 50 NFL coaches and executives, the defensive coordinator said he didn’t think the Ravens could win if Jackson was forced to throw and that Jackson would never be a top-tier quarterback. There will be no bake.
“If he has to pass to win the game, he’s not winning the game,” the defensive coordinator said. “He’s very unique as a player and he’s a really good football player, but I don’t [care] If he wins league MVP 12 times, I don’t think he’ll ever be 1 as a quarterback. He’ll be No. 1 as a football player, but not as a quarterback. A lot of games come down to two minutes, and that’s why even when they’re good defensively, they have a hard time going forward. The playoffs are tough. You have to be able to throw the ball, and he’s so inconsistent throwing the ball. It’s hit or miss.”
Tight end Mark Andrews, Jackson’s top pass catcher, was blunt in his response.
“We’ll see whoever that was, sure, mmmmm,” Andrews said briefly.
This isn’t the first time Jackson has been criticized since the Ravens drafted the Heisman Trophy winner out of Louisville in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft. He’s called a running back, and pundits talk about his accuracy. This offseason, his contract has been discussed — and valued. Another point of criticism.
In an article by The Athletic, Jackson was ranked 10th and second among quarterbacks. He was the third-best quarterback in the AFC North, behind Cincinnati Bengals’ Joe Brough (sixth) and Cleveland Browns’ Deshaun Watson (ninth).
Jackson’s colleagues disagree.
“That’s a stupid statement,” veteran defensive lineman Calais Campbell said Tuesday. “If you win 12 MVPs, you’re the best quarterback ever. Some people always have an opinion and you really don’t care what other people think. Whatever Lamar does, if He goes out there and wins the Super Bowl three years in a row, people are still going to be critical.
“It doesn’t sound cowardly, it’s cowardly. It doesn’t sound personal, it’s personal,” ESPN insider Louis Riddick said on “Get Up” Tuesday morning.
In a similar exercise, ESPN surveyed more than 50 league executives, coaches, scouts and players to rank the top 10 players at 11 different positions. Jackson, 2019 NFL Most Valuable Player, Rounds Out Top 10 Quarterbacks.
“It’s hard to stay healthy when you run that much. He’s actually gotten a lot better as a passer,” one NFL offensive line coach said. “But if you play like that. [with a run-heavy attack] And it’s a close game and you’re down, it’s really hard to win, because you’re asked to do things where you’re just mediocre, not great, and that’s passing the ball when they know you Gonna pass it.”
Opinions about Jackson were mixed in The Athletic’s poll. Just as many voters placed Jackson in Tier 1 (eight) as Tier 3. Other coaches quoted in the article also commented on Jackson’s passing ability, which relegated him to advanced status. An anonymous offensive coach wants to see him improve his ability to identify coverage.
In his four NFL seasons, Jackson has completed 64.1% of his passes for 9,967 yards with 84 touchdowns and 13 interceptions while rushing for 3,673 yards and 21 scores. He is 37-12 as a starter in the regular season but 1-3 in the playoffs.
“One thing I know is when you’re doing things that are different than what everybody else is doing and you’re really good at it, people love it,” linebacker Patrick Quinn said Tuesday. They don’t,” linebacker Patrick Quinn said Tuesday. “Lamar will be Lamar and wherever he gets which I know will be high places, great places, kudos to him. Haters gonna be haters.”
Jackson, who is in the final year of his rookie contract, is in Owings Mills and is expected to take the field on the first day of training camp on Wednesday. He and general manager Eric DeCosta are expected to continue talks about a contract extension throughout camp.
His colleagues are happy to have him in the building.
“Let the haters talk,” Campbell said.