I really enjoy watching Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson play football. He's supremely talented, electric to watch and most importantly winning for his team. The Baltimore Ravens are primed for a deep playoff push and Lamar Jackson himself is right in the middle of the MVP race, some think he is the favorite for MVP.
Lamar is good. Very very good.
But can ESPN and various media people stop acting like the NFL has never seen Lamar Jackson's skill-set?
Quarterbacks like Randall Cunningham, Steve McNair, Vince Young, Marcus Mariota, Cam Newton, Colin Kaepernick, Russell Wilson, Deshaun Watson, Michael Vick, should all feel disrespected by the media in my opinion. Hall of Fame quarterbacks like Steve Young and John Elway had pretty good feet as well, they even have some memorable moments created by scrambles.
It's likely I have even forgotten a few good scrambling guys from the past. These players were really just off the top of my head.
Of course I understand not every player is the same. The players I mentioned above all experienced different levels of success. Some reached very high heights, some were average. But every quarterback I mentioned won at least a solid amount of games, they all experienced a degree of success in their careers.
So this post is not a post claiming Lamar Jackson is overrated or bad or anything like that. But I do have some questions, some doubts. More about longevity than anything else.
Sports media completely lacks a respect for history and it completely lacks patience. Lamar is doing well in 2019? The media spazzes and claims that the league has never seen anything like this and never will again. Lamar is god.
Sports media is just a bunch of impatient toddlers with amnesia.
I remember recently hearing a media member saying something along the lines of "every step of the way Lamar has proven himself" implying that Lamar has officially silenced every doubter. That's pretty incorrect, pretty crazy in my opinion.
Here is my bottom line. Scrambling quarterbacks get injured. Nearly every quarterback I mentioned above has a history of injuries, mostly as a result of scrambling. Lamar has not played a full season yet. Even if he does I have serious doubts that he can make a long career out of running for his life, dodging defenses while also playing quarterback. A quarterback's health is a very important thing for a team.
What happens if Lamar gets a leg injury of some sort and has to become more of a pure pocket passer? Lamar can throw it better than I thought, I do admit. But defenses will look a whole lot different when they don't have to respect his scrambling ability. Can Lamar win games consistently from the pocket?
Also, I want to once again mention that Lamar is NOT the first of his kind in terms of ability to scramble like a ninja. It's surely been awhile since the league has seen a talent like Lamar, but it has. Teams will eventually learn to kind of limit Lamar at times as the league has done so with scramblers in the past. I'm not sure if the league will catch up in 2019 which is exciting for Lamar and the Ravens. But in the coming years I believe teams will definitely game plan to beat Lamar's legs.
Lamar can get past those game plans if he really commits to being a good pure passer, and perhaps he already can but I haven't been able to tell because Lamar is healthy and defenses are so worried about being a new Lamar Jackson highlight.
This Lamar situation is similar to UFC Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. Khabib mostly dominates because of his insanely superior grappling ability. When opponents face him in the octagon the main thing on their mind is to not let Khabib take them down, because when they do, the fights over. The fighter is hyper aware and cautious of that threat. Khabib knows this. Most times what happens is in these moments Khabib actually begins to use his striking which completely throws off and hurts Khabib's opponent. His opponent is totally surprised. To make matters worse for Khabib's opponent is that Khabib is pretty competent at striking, more so than people give him credit for.
I believe that if Khabib faces an foe with just good enough grappling skills perhaps Khabib will be in a tougher fight, but for now Khabib is far and away better at grappling than the whole UFC roster.
The advantage Khabib has over Lamar is that Khabib only needs to fight once or twice a year while Lamar plays sixteen times a season or more counting the playoffs. There is so much more film to game plan against Lamar than there is for Khabib. Of course also one is a solo sport and the other is a team sport but still, overall I believe its an interesting comparison.
Can Lamar work hard and be a good passer if his legs are taken away in a season? Can he be successful being one-dimensional? Could Khabib beat Conor McGregor in a boxing match? Maybe the answer to both questions is yes, but I have no solid evidence to tell me these men could accomplish those tasks.
What do you think of Lamar Jackson and his future in the NFL?