Lamar Jackson has arrived as an NFL star, but if push came to shove, could anyone count on him to win one big game such as the Super Bowl?
Given his overwhelming talent and ability to change the game, many would answer yes to that question, but one ESPN analyst isn’t sure that is completely the case. After a new list revealing the top 10 quarterbacks in the NFL for 2020 was revealed based on polling of league personnel, Jackson was revealed to be ranked No. 6 for the Baltimore Ravens. Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers placed at No. 3, and not everyone appreciated that fact.
On ESPN’s Get Up, Greg McElroy and Marcus Spears debated the rankings of both players, and each felt Jackson was underrated. Where they differed, however, was on whether or not Jackson can truly be counted on to win a big game.
Spears was in the corner of Jackson:
“If you watch the NFL and you ask me who are you more terrified at playing against out of Lamar Jackson and Aaron Rodgers, and this isn’t a slight, Aaron Rodgers is still great, Aaron Rodgers went to the NFC Championship last year, but Lamar Jackson gives me more problems,” Spears said. “Is he a better passer? No. In the totality of a football game, I am more terrified of Lamar Jackson than Aaron Rodgers at this stage.”
McElroy disagreed, and said that he thinks Rodgers is the best bet to win the biggest games a team or a coach might need to win. The reason? Mostly his playoff resume.
“That’s when you’re defined as a quarterback. You can give me regular season stats all you want. I’ve seen a million guys that are incredible in the regular season and can’t get it done in January. Well guess what, Lamar Jackson in 2 playoff starts has been remarkably unimpressive,” McIlroy said. “I know he’s a freak show and I know he is just bound for stardom. I actually believe he’s a much better passer than some people realize. At this point, if you have to win the Super Bowl right now, are you taking Lamar Jackson to start for your team or Aaron Rodgers? For me, it’s Aaron Rodgers and it’s really not even close.”
As it relates to the playoff argument, thus far, McElroy is right. In a pair of playoff starts, Jackson has passed for 559 yards, 3 touchdowns and 3 interceptions and is 0-2. Rodgers has easily been the much more decorated quarterback in the postseason in his career. Rodgers, however, is also 36. So it’s more than possible that Jackson can get to that level in due time with enough experience.
Until he wins, though, the comments about his postseason frustrations will keep coming up and dogging Jackson. The best way to stop these conversations from happening would be for him to go out and win this coming season.
Why Lamar Jackson Could Win MVP Again
Could Jackson go back to back? For some, it’s as simple as the players around him in addition to the talents of the quarterback himself. Fox Sports analyst Colin Cowherd thinks that Jackson is winning the award again in 2020, and the reason has everything to do with the surge the quarterback has recently made in his career.
In a segment of The Herd where he was picking superlatives for NFL players, Cowherd named Jackson “most likely to win the MVP award” and explained that he thinks things are going to get even better for Jackson this coming season in Baltimore.
“His growth from year 1 to 2 was phenomenal. He seems to be uniquely focused and let’s be honest, they are completely stacked in Baltimore,” Cowherd said. “They’re not paying Lamar Jackson anything. That’s the advantage to dropping in the first round as a quarterback. You don’t make as much money, but you get way better teammates. I have the Ravens winning the Super Bowl. Lamar Jackson’s going to be the MVP as his trajectory goes up.”
After a season in 2019 where Jackson did everything, having him pegged as the MVP for this coming season seems like a wise bet. After all, the only thing he hasn’t proven he can do is win in the playoffs. If Jackson is able to do that, his star will be strong for a while.
Lamar Jackson Stats
This past season, Jackson has been the epitome of a dual-threat quarterback and one of the leaders in the next generation of quarterbacks that will make waves in the league. After the action concluded last week, Jackson has put up 3,127 passing yards and 36 touchdowns through the air. On the ground, he has rumbled for 1,206 yards and 7 touchdowns. As a whole, the Ravens have managed to find the best of Jackson on the field. Arguably, he’s become the most obvious MVP candidate in the league given these types of things.
Since being drafted out of Louisville, Jackson has begun to rewrite the book in the league in terms of what a quarterback is and can be. The fact that he was a shoo-in as an All-Pro is a testament to how good Jackson has been in 2019.
Still, until he wins in the playoffs, not everyone is convinced the Ravens have a player capable of getting them over the top as the Packers have with Rogers.