The offseason has become the time for lists as content and stories are scarce. The recent lists of top quarterbacks have not been kind to Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson. It’s almost as if the former MVP has suddenly lost his superpowers like the movie, “Space Jam.”
Jackson was considered a top five quarterback last year. Now he finds himself outside of the top 10, according to some of the recent lists.
ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler surveyed more than 50 league executives, coaches, scouts, and players to help us stack the top 10 players at 11 different positions, including quarterback. Fowler’s quarterback poll named Jackson as an honorable mention. Here is the excerpt from the post:
“Keeping a quarterback with an MVP award and a 37-12 record as a starter off a top-10 list is surprising, but that’s exactly what more than half of the voters did. Despite standout moments in 2021 — including 442 passing yards on Monday Night Football against the Colts in October — Jackson finished the year with a career-low 50.7 QBR. He struggled mightily in his last three full games with six interceptions and 13 sacks as teams blitzed him heavily. And he missed the last month of the season with an ankle injury, fueling concern about how his running style will hold up long term.
“Hard to stay healthy when you run that much; he’s actually gotten a lot better as a passer,” an NFL offensive coach said. “But if you play that way [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 what you only minor in, not major in, and that’s passing the ball when they know you are gonna pass it.”
An NFC personnel evaluator added, “Innately competitive, driven and mentally tougher than just about anybody. You just run into a few issues late in the year: For as much as you run him, you get worn down.”
Jackson is one of the league’s most polarizing players. His style of playing quarterback is different from the traditional pocket passer. Although it places a strain on opposing defensive coordinators and has worked wonders for the Ravens offense, there are some who want to discredit Jackson.
Mike Sando of The Athletic compiled a list that ranked quarterbacks and placed them in tiers based on feedback from 50 NFL coaches and executives, including six general managers, eight head coaches, 10 evaluators, 12 coordinators, six quarterback coaches and seven executives.
Jackson finished in Tier 2 and ranked 10th on Sando’s list. He may have finished in the top 10, but that didn’t shield him from criticism.
One anonymous defensive coordinator that Sando spoke to had a rather unflattering take on Jackson.
“If he has to pass to win the game, they ain’t winning the game,” the defensive coordinator told Sando. “He’s so unique as a player, but I don’t give a s–t if he wins the league MVP 12 times. I don’t think he’ll ever be a 1 as a quarterback. He’ll be a 1 as a football player, but not as a quarterback.”
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and the Ravens are more than pleased with Jackson. And rightfully so. Jackson has led Baltimore to the playoffs in three of the four seasons that he’s been their starter.