Lamar Jackson’s first playoff win is another step in proving his doubters wrong.
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson entered the 2020 NFL season with a massive target on his back after being named NFL MVP a year ago, as well as becoming the poster boy for Madden NFL 21. Critics were worried that he couldn’t come from behind in games, that he couldn’t throw the ball when he needed to and that he couldn’t win in the playoffs.
Well, all of those have been answered after the Ravens victory over the Tennessee Titans in the AFC Wild Card Round.
There tends to be a theme when a young quarterback enters the NFL. People want to root and cheer for the player before the bandwagon arises. But as soon as the player finds success in the NFL, the same fans find themselves rooting against the young star.
While this seems ridiculous, you can confidently say that you know at least one or two individuals who liked Lamar Jackson when he was drafted but their feelings for him changed when he won NFL MVP and he received recognition for his talents.
Another theme revolved around young quarterbacks is that people seem to forget that, when a player enters the NFL at 21 years old, even the player himself doesn’t know what kind of player he’ll become. They’re constantly developing and improving their game.
Look no further than Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills. Remember when everyone called him a bust and that he wouldn’t last in the NFL? Now, look at him. In not even a year, he’s improved his game significantly into becoming an elite quarterback in the league. And that’s exactly what Jackson is doing on the Baltimore Ravens.
Lamar Jackson has made clear strides in his third season with the Ravens.
We talk about sophomore slumps in the NFL and how it’s the players who can overcome it that are the ones who will last in the league. Lamar Jackson did, indeed, have a slump in the 2020 regular season (his third year in the NFL but second full year as the starter in Baltimore).
The former Heisman-winner finished with a slightly lower completion percentage (64.4) than he did in 2019 (66.1), fewer passing yards (2,757) than the previous year (3,127), and fewer passing touchdowns (26) compared to a year ago (36). However, if being the first quarterback in NFL history to have back-to-back 1,000 rushing yard seasons is his slump, Jackson is going to be a stud at the bare minimum.
Not everyone is alike in the NFL. That’s what’s beautiful about the game. Each player has their own unique style of play and the quarterback position is no different. Jackson may never lead the league in passing yards but he’ll consistently win games and that’s far more than what can be said about most quarterbacks in the NFL. No matter what, Jackson will have his doubters because a quarterback who runs the ball as much as he does has never been seen before.
However, that’s not entirely a bad thing. If it gets the team to win games in the regular season, then does it matter how many rushing yards he has versus passing yards? Absolutely not.
When you look at Jackson, you need to change the way you view the position. We’re watching history as he’s changing the position before our very eyes. The reason why he has so many doubters is possibly that most people are afraid of change.
Before, the biggest knock against Jackson was that he couldn’t win in the postseason. As of this past weekend, he changed that. With the monkey off his back, who knows what he’ll do from here. Even if the Baltimore Ravens lose to the Buffalo Bills in the AFC Divisional Round, Jackson is only gaining more experience and will come back even better next season.
It seems that he’s a guy who learns best via trial and error and, going back to 2020 being a slump for him, if this is the worst he’ll be as an NFL starter, then goodness gracious is this guy going to be something special.
People can doubt him because they’re not ready for the change he’ll bring to the NFL and the quarterback position. Lamar Jackson is adding a different type of threat to the offense that has never been seen before. We can’t measure quarterbacks based upon passing abilities anymore because it’s too binary. Jackson is more than just a quarterback. He’s a freak athlete who can throw and run and is on a path to greatness. This is only the foundation of it.