The NFL is now a one-man show, as Lamar Jackson’s dominant performance in Las Vegas has turned the Ravens quarterback into a household name. How will the league react to his dominance and what does it mean for the rest of the season?
The where is lamar jackson from is a question that has been asked after Lamar Jackson’s opening in Las Vegas. He has turned it into a one-man show, but there are also other players on the team.
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA — During quarterback Lamar Jackson’s third training camp session of the summer, he saw rookie wide receiver Rashod Bateman, the Baltimore Ravens’ first-round selection, collapse to the ground in agony, clutching his groin and screaming, “I busted that s—-.”
Starting running back J.K. Dobbins was shot in the left knee on a screen pass in Jackson’s first preseason game, and he was carried off the field with a season-ending ruptured ACL.
Then, four days before the regular-season opener, Jackson was on the practice field when running back Gus Edwards tore his ACL, thus ending Jackson’s season.
The big question this summer has been whether or not the NFL has figured out Jackson. However, as the Ravens prepare to face the Las Vegas Raiders on Monday Night Football (8:15 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN), Jackson is attempting to figure out who will be lined up around him.
• Are the Ravens becoming a one-man show as a result of their injuries? • Are you prepared for the Raiders’ “Inaugural Season 2.0”? • Murray’s return to health gives the Cards a chance to compete. • After the defeat, what is the Bills’ message? • Hurts’ statement game provides optimism for the Eagles
Is Jackson under greater responsibility to lead the team now that so many players are injured?
“No, regardless of the fact, I’m always going to strive to do more,” Jackson stated.
This was supposed to be the year in which Jackson would make no excuses and push the Ravens’ passing offense to new heights. In his four NFL seasons, the supporting cast was regarded as the best.
Some speculated that, with less time to develop connection with his receivers, Jackson would run the ball more. Others believed that since his top two rushers from last year were gone, Jackson would have to pass the ball more.
On the surface, everyone seems to agree that the Ravens have once again devolved into a one-man show.
“He’s the kind of person who won’t ever say that’s how he feels,” said Louis Riddick, a former NFL player and executive who is now a member of ESPN’s Monday Night Football broadcast crew in his second season. “But the truth of the matter is, with all of the concerns around him, he’ll have to step up his game to compensate for any potential flaws.” He’ll simply have to do it.
“Of course, he’ll have to do it if they want to go to the championship game and then to the Super Bowl. He is well aware of this.”
The Ravens planned on strengthening their passing game to help Lamar Jackson grow, but their plans didn’t account for many key players suffering season-ending injuries. Nick Wass/AP Photo
With no clear No. 1 wide receiver and a rotating group of starting running backs, Jackson has guided the Ravens to unprecedented regular-season success in the last three seasons. Patrick Mahomes is not one of them. Josh Allen is not one of them. Tom Brady is not one of them. Since taking over as the Ravens’ starting halfway through the 2018 season, Jackson has a 30-7 record, making him the NFL’s winningest quarterback. In Jackson’s two full seasons as a starter, the Ravens have scored more points than any other club in the NFL.
According to ESPN Stats & Information research, the Ravens defied the odds last season, becoming the first team in 17 years to make the playoffs despite ranking last in passing.
In the wide field, Jackson can make tacklers look stupid, and in the red zone, he can defeat defenders with touchdown throws to tight end Mark Andrews. However, in order for Baltimore to progress, Jackson recognizes that he must make opponents pay for crowding the center of the field. He has to throw outside the numbers as well as deep downfield to extend the field.
The passing game’s importance grew following the departures of Dobbins and Edwards, who combined for 81 percent of Baltimore’s running yards from the backfield.
Even though the club didn’t have much salary-cap room and made their first round choices towards the end of the first round, Baltimore’s goal this summer was to assist Jackson by improving his wide outs. The Ravens signed free agent Sammy Watkins and selected Bateman with the 27th overall selection. Along with Marquise Brown, the team’s first-round selection in 2018, the Ravens have three previous first-round picks at wide receiver for the first time in franchise history, which was anticipated to help Jackson’s growth as a thrower.
“Michael Jordan could drive and then he learned how to shoot a jump shot,” Ravens quarterbacks coach James Urban said. “So that’s how we went about doing it. He’s not going to pull over to the side of the road. Michael Jordan didn’t stop driving down the lane; he just improved his shooting technique. So we’re simply learning how to throw the ball more consistently and correctly.”
Lamar Jackson isn’t going to quit running with the football just because he wants to enhance the Ravens’ passing offense this season. USA TODAY Sports’ Mark Konezny
Trying to catch up
Last year’s limited development in the passing game was attributed to the coronavirus epidemic, which forced the Ravens to cancel summer workouts and shorten training camp. With the resumption to a regular training camp, team management expected the learning curve to flatten.
That all changed when Jackson tested positive for COVID-19 and was confined for the first ten days of camp. By the time he returned, the wide receiver corps had been decimated by injuries.
Brown, Bateman, and Watkins, Jackson’s top three outside targets, missed a combined 38 sessions throughout the five-week camp. Siaosi Mariner and Binjimen Victor caught more catches this summer than Baltimore’s starting receivers.
“If there’s one area of the pass game that has to improve, it’s going to be the perimeter,” ESPN’s Dan Orlovsky, a former NFL quarterback, said. “As a quarterback, when I’m throwing the ball to the perimeter, it’ll almost always be out of my hands before the receiver looks for it, simply because it has to go so far.” It everything boils down to feel, repetition, timing, and rhythm. How can such people improve if they can’t do it themselves?
“This was a weakness that they hoped to address coming into the season, and it remains a problem. For a Super Bowl contender, this is a major issue.”
At the end of August, Ravens coach John Harbaugh was questioned whether the wide receivers had enough time to get into a rhythm with Jackson.
He said, “There has to be.”
After groin surgery, Bateman will go on injured reserve for at least the first three games. Brown and Watkins resumed practice on September 1, less than two weeks before the season opener.
ESPN commentator and former veteran offensive lineman Jeff Saturday says it’s tough to make up for missed time as the regular season approaches. Because clubs want to preserve players’ legs for game day, repetitions are drastically reduced.
“All of those things play a big role in how this passing game develops,” Saturday said. “It will not take place. Basically, you’ll see what Baltimore accomplished last season because they won’t be able to move things forward as quickly as they’d want.”
Because of the time he spent before coming to the Ravens facility, Jackson had the sharpest training camp of his career. In Florida and Arizona, Jackson worked out with teammates. He was also coached by Adam Dedeaux, a throwing mechanics specialist and the creator of 3DQB, a company that has aided half of the NFL’s starting quarterbacks.
Jackson’s teammates noticed he was throwing tighter spirals throughout training camp. Jackson’s ability to remain in the pocket even when he had space to go was noticed by his coaches.
Calais Campbell, a Ravens defensive end, stated, “You can tell he’s a hard worker, tough, clever, and just has an edge to him.” “He’s simply a young guy who is improving every day. Each year, he’ll make significant strides toward becoming one of the greatest players in the game’s history.”
Because Sammy Watkins, left, and Jackson didn’t spend much time together in the preseason, they’ll have to work hard to establish in-game chemistry starting Monday night. Nick Wass/AP Photo
Is it possible to figure out Jackson?
Jackson has maintained a cheerful and fun demeanor in his media appearances throughout this trying summer. The only time he expressed displeasure was when questioned about ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler’s remark on Get Up! that some people around the league believe this year would be the year “everyone finds out Lamar Jackson.”
Jackson replied, slumping his shoulders and letting out a sigh, “We’ll see, but I have my doubts. I really doubt it. It’s something I really mistrust.”
Jackson needed the fewest games in NFL history to achieve 30 regular-season wins, 5,000 yards passing, and 2,000 yards running.
Jackson has been the greatest player at every level of football. His Pop Warner videos continue to gain popularity. At the age of 19, Jackson became the youngest quarterback to win the Heisman Trophy, and at the age of 22, he became the youngest quarterback to earn NFL MVP.
Jackson’s playoff difficulties (he’s 1-3) and inconsistency in making high-level throws have been highlighted by critics. However, ESPN analyst Robert Griffin III, who was Baltimore’s backup quarterback for the previous three seasons, believes that defenses will be able to stop Jackson.
“Michael Jordan didn’t stop driving down the lane; he just improved his shooting technique. So we’re simply learning how to throw the ball more consistently and correctly.” James Urban, the Ravens’ quarterbacks coach, on Lamar Jackson
“When teams believe they’ve figured him out, they haven’t because, guess what, he’s still a mystery. He has no idea what he is going to do next “Griffin said. “He’s a very intuitive player. So, the offensive and its predictability, well, that has been discussed. It’s even come up in conversation with Lamar. But, in the end, you must put a stop to him. He is the source of the offense.”
Last week, when the Ravens lost their third running back in 12 days, the players said it was demoralizing. Nobody was alarmed, however, since Jackson has always been Baltimore’s most dangerous runner.
Even though their top wide receivers spent training camp in the locker room, the Ravens have repeatedly professed confidence in their passing game. Why? It’s not about Jackson’s speed this time.
Andrews, Jackson’s favorite target, remarked, “He knows the game so well.” “I believe it’s because he’s so slow, simply to be able to observe things and see how the coverage develops,” she says.
This isn’t the first time the league has been accused of having figured out Jackson. Many people believed the Los Angeles Chargers provided the template for defeating Jackson in the 2018 playoffs, when Baltimore was defeated 23-17. The next season, Jackson was named the NFL’s second unanimous MVP.
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Will this year’s hullabaloo create an even larger chip on Jackson’s shoulder?
“I’d say he’s one of the most naturally driven guys I’ve ever been around,” said Urban, who is in his fourth season as Jackson’s quarterbacks coach. “Doesn’t it only add fuel to the fire?” I’m not sure how much extra firewood you actually need. He’s a very driven young guy who aspires to great things and works really hard to accomplish his goals.
“So, believe in him, mistrust him, or think he’s wonderful. Other than the individuals in this building, I’m not sure he cares much about other people’s views.”
Many outside the Ravens’ headquarters believe that, despite all of Baltimore’s ailments, the Ravens will continue to be tough to defeat as long as Jackson remains their quarterback.
“It’s as the saying goes, ‘With tremendous power comes great responsibility,’” Riddick said. “He has a great deal of physical and mental strength. He has a duty to elevate everyone else’s level and to make things seem nice when things aren’t going well around him. Even if he won’t acknowledge it, he understands.”
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