Insider Reveals How Ravens ‘Failed’ Lamar Jackson

Lamar Jackson

Getty The Ravens have "failed" Lamar Jackson, according to one NFL insider.

Lamar Jackson’s development has been bungled by the Baltimore Ravens this season. That’s the view of ESPN’s Mike Greenberg, who accused the franchise of failing to put enough playmakers around its All-Pro quarterback.

Greenberg also took the Ravens to task for messing up the trade of Marquise ‘Hollywood’ Brown during the first round of the 2022 NFL draft. Specifically, Greenberg believes the Ravens and general manager Eric DeCosta wasted the extra first-round pick they got from the Arizona Cardinals for Brown by not selecting a skill player to help Jackson.

Ravens’ Draft Decisions in Spotlight

Speaking on an edition of ESPN’s Get Up, Greenberg focused on decisions made during the draft and how they failed Jackson: “We all thought that trading away Hollywood Brown for what they got for him might have been a good move at the time. They got a first-round pick for a player who, it doesn’t real feel like he’s a difference-maker, but they then drafted a safety and an offensive lineman. They didn’t draft a skill-position player until the fourth round.”

Greenberg also lamented the gamble the Ravens took on second-year wide receiver Rashod Bateman: “They based their entire season on Rashod Bateman staying healthy. If ever the words we couldn’t afford to lose Rashod Bateman are spoken, that’s an organizational problem.”

The risk with Bateman backfired when 2021’s first-round pick was lost for the season due to a foot injury that needed surgery. He’d already missed five games as a rookie because of groin problems, so it’s not as if the Ravens couldn’t have foreseen Bateman not staying healthy.

Getting decisions like those wrong is why Greenberg ultimately offered the damning verdict about the Ravens and Jackson, “this organization has failed around him, far more than he has failed.”

The failure puts DeCosta under the spotlight, somewhere the 51-year-old doesn’t want to be for long. Not when former Ravens defensive back Dominique Foxworth told Greenberg, “when you go from Ozzie Newsome, quite possibly the best, like, executive the league has ever seen, to DeCosta, there’s going to be a step down.”

It’s a tough indictment of DeCosta at a time when he’s trying to decide what to do about Jackson’s future. The 2019 league MVP and two-time Pro-Bowler is out of contract after this season, leaving the Ravens to face a looming dilemma about how to proceed at football’s most important position.

Ravens Must Prove They Can Build Around Star QB

DeCosta’s dilemma is should he make Jackson one of the highest-paid quarterbacks in the game? Common consensus says yes because of Jackson’s dual-threat skills and the difficulty of finding another QB capable of delivering a championship.

That assumes the Ravens fully believe Jackson can win the franchise a third Super Bowl trophy. DeCosta’s actions raise doubts, particularly drafting safety Kyle Hamilton and center Tyler Linderbaum in the first round of a draft loaded with gifted wideouts.

Bypassing pass-catchers like Jahan Dotson and Treylon Burks in the opening round looks foolhardy since none of Jackson’s wide receivers have tallied even 400 yards. Devin Duvernay leads the way with just 35 catches for 378 yards, but even he’s looked short of confidence in recent games.

DeCosta’s only veteran recruits at the position this season are former Kansas City Chiefs bit-part player Demarcus Robinson and 36-year-old DeSean Jackson. It’s little wonder the Ravens’ primary passer has averaged just 6.9 yards per attempt and thrown for 2,242 yards, 21st among eligible starting QBs this season.

Putting Jackson’s numbers into context is a depressing exercise for the Ravens. He’s thrown for 366 fewer yards than Jacoby Brissett, the fill-in for the Cleveland Browns until Deshaun Watson served his suspension after facing multiple allegations of sexual misconduct.

Jackson also trails Mike White in one key area, per CBS Sports, despite White only starting two games this season after the New York Jets benched Zach Wilson:

Jackson’s injured now, out for up to three weeks with a knee problem, but his numbers would still look a lot better if the Ravens had added a bluechip wide receiver. Not having one on the roster has damaged Jackson’s hopes to get a Watson-level contract, with Heavy’s front office insider Randy Mueller believing “nothing” has happened to convince the Ravens to up the offer they made before the season.

That’s the impact for Jackson, but the absence of a premier pass-catcher to produce big plays on the outside could have fatal implications for the Ravens’ overall title chances. Those implications are spelled out by Bleacher Report’s David Kenyon: “But the near-absence of explosiveness looks likely to doom the Ravens in the postseason. Would the perception be different if they’d managed to bring in a proven receiver?”

The longer that question goes unanswered, the more questions will be asked about the job DeCosta has done to build around his marquee quarterback.

Comment Here
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x