It’s the 12 months 2022, and people in and across the NFL are still spouting off terrible takes about Lamar Jackson.
The Athletic’s Mike Sando recently published his annual QB tiers list, during which all quarterbacks are ranked into groups (often five) based on rankings from NFL executives and personnel. Jackson, the Ravens’ star quarterback and the 2019 MVP, was ranked in tier 2 – described as with the ability to “carry his team sometimes but not as consistently” and “can handle pure passing situations in doses and/or possesses other dimensions which can be special enough to raise him,” but “has a hole or two in his game.”
Perhaps somewhat of a good evaluation of Jackson – but one anonymous defensive coordinator had an aggressively harsh diagnosis of his play.
“If he has to pass to win the sport, they ain’t winning the sport,” the coordinator said. “He’s so unique as an athlete and he’s really football player, but I don’t (care) 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.”
Yes, the NFL continues to be recycling the usual takes in regards to the dynamic quarterback that that they had after his rookie season, when he had nearly as many rush attempts as pass attempts and everybody unfairly labeled him as a running back. In his second season, he only led the league in passing touchdowns, averaged the next yards per attempt than Justin Herbert did in his second season, and accomplished over 66 percent of his passes.
Lamar Jackson throws a passGetty Images
Lamar Jackson races past Browns defendersGetty Images
Since his rookie 12 months, Jackson has thrown for 8,766 yards, 78 passing touchdowns, and 28 interceptions in 42 games, a few of which have been affected by injuries (each to himself and the players around him). He has also rushed for two,978 yards and 16 rushing touchdowns, but he has greater than proven himself as a passer – and still has loads of room to enhance at only 25 years old.
Playoff success has been Jackson’s bugaboo up to now within the league – he’s 1-3 in 4 postseason games, with only three passing touchdowns and five interceptions – but he has made the postseason in all three of his fully-healthy seasons. But several “traditional” quarterbacks within the history of the NFL have struggled within the playoffs early of their profession; Peyton Manning lost his first three playoff games, throwing only one touchdown.
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Jackson continues to be punished for his unique skill set, held to an unfair standard simply because he offers more as a runner than arguably any quarterback in NFL history. If he wins the MVP 12 times, because the anonymous coordinator suggested, he’ll undoubtedly have done it on the strength of his arm.
The comments from The Athletic piece got the web fired up:
It doesn’t matter what Lamar Jackson does.
It doesn’t matter if he wins MVP.
It doesn’t matter if he has an absurd win rate.
It doesn’t matter if he totally carries his team after they are banged up.
Irrespective of what, a disturbingly great amount of individuals won’t ever respect him.
— Brett Kollmann (@BrettKollmann) July 25, 2022
As Jackson heads to training camp for his fifth season (amid a possibly tenuous contract situation), one hopes this can be the 12 months that he finally changes some minds. But really, what more can he do?