The Baltimore Ravens have one of the better records in the AFC, yet it still feels as if there is something pedestrian about the team in 2020.
Lamar Jackson’s play has been far from the MVP level it reached in the 2019 season. Even still, the quarterback is doing some nice things and captaining his team to a 6-2 record thus far. Despite that, Jackson could be getting more than his fair share of guff for the team’s inability to win the biggest games on their schedule thus far.
Even such, a surprising name is coming to Jackson’s defense. Fox Sports analyst Colin Cowherd says that it’s not Jackson’s fault what has happened this season, and he remains near the top of the heap in terms of NFL quarterbacks moving forward.
— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) November 9, 2020
“Lamar Jackson doesn’t hurt his team. He’s got some certain limitations. Lamar doesn’t unravel unless he plays the Steelers, who make everyone look bad. He’s a great runner. He’s a good enough passer. I don’t think he’s going to be (Patrick) Mahomes or (Kyler) Murray. I’m not sure anybody on the planet is. He makes plays, he keeps you up at night, he wins a lot. He’s played 30 regular season games, he’s won 25. There’s a difference between hurting your team and being limited. He just needs to figure out how to beat the Chiefs more. Does everything else fine. Certainly good enough to win playoff games to me.”
So far, it’s the playoff trouble that has cost Jackson the most in terms of his immediate legacy in the league. Without the trouble there, Jackson would be thought of as quite possibly the best quarterback in football other than Patrick Mahomes.
It’s tough not to make snap judgements on players, but Cowherd is right to hold off on casting total judgement over Jackson. It’s possible 2020 can still have some special things in store for the quarterback, and anyone who doubts him now could end up with egg on their face then.
Lamar Jackson 2020 Stats
So far this season, Jackson hasn’t been that impressive in terms of playmaking by himself as he was a year ago. Jackson has fired 12 touchdowns to just 4 picks and gone for 1,513 passing yards. He’s also run for 469 yards and 3 scores this season. Those numbers aren’t terrible to be sure, but the Ravens have lost both the big games they’ve played in ugly fashion, casting a pall over their entire season at this point in time. Even though the offense hasn’t heated up, Jackson has still remained solid for the team as a whole, which is a good point that Cowherd makes.
Lamar Jackson Chasing Patrick Mahomes
It’s true that few folks have beaten Mahomes early in his career, but Jackson has been open about the fact that he wants his career to mirror that of the Chiefs quarterback. Jackson has been clear that his goals for the Baltimore Ravens now involve the Super Bowl, and that’s true even as it relates to his chance at personal glory as well. In fact, Jackson wants to make some NFL history and become the third player to win the MVP award, then win the Super Bowl the next year. If he does, he could join Patrick Mahomes.
As Jackson admitted to the media earlier this offseason, he knew Mahomes had accomplished the feat, but he didn’t know he had the chance to be No. 3. The hope is he can push forward and get this done.
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) September 9, 2020
“I didn’t know the past 2 MVP’s (have become Super Bowl champions). I knew about the last one, but hopefully the third one will be me.”
This goal is something to be admired for Jackson, and it’s something he can get done if he remains consistent and is able to have a similar season to last year. So far, that hasn’t happened statistically completely, but that doesn’t mean it can’t play out on the field in due time.
As Cowherd knows, it may end up playing out as soon as the 2020-21 season.