The hype about Lamar Jackson and his style of play is still not calming down. The rookie quarterback made his first start of the season last week against the Bengals, and it was pretty noticeable. All the media are still debating about his style of play and whether he needs to change it or continue in the same manner.
Jackson ran 27 times for 117 yards and threw 150 yards with a solid completion percentage, 13-of-19. For the majority of rookies, this would be considered as an excellent first start, but this guy faced a lot of criticism after the game, because of his ground game. He set the new NFL record in rushing attempts by a quarterback. That is something many disapprove.
“I ran 27 times [on Sunday]. I didn’t try to. We did whatever it took to win. Hopefully, I’m going to start throwing the ball more. The game plan is coming up. We’re going to be throwing the ball. They’re going to see.” said Jackson, indicating what are his intentions for the upcoming game against the Oakland Raiders (2-8).
Coach John Harbaugh defended his player, stating that Jackson knows his job, and that all the media writings and “insinuations” as he said, won’t change the way he sees him.
“The kid can throw. He’s a quarterback. He’s a quarterback. So, all these little-veiled questions — and if anybody is out there [saying], ‘Oh, I can’t believe ‘Harbs’ is getting so ticked,’ — I don’t appreciate the insinuation of the question. We will continue to say it: Lamar Jackson is a quarterback.”
The 21-year old is aware that he needs to find his wide receivers more often, and stated that he would do that in future. Against the Bengals, Michael Crabtree and Willie Snead went to coach Harbaugh at one point, and demanded more throws in their direction.
But everything went well in the end because they defeated Cincinnati 24-21, with these two contributing with blocking and being more physically involved in protecting their quarterback while running. Nobody was angry at the youngster, because they know that winning is all that matters.
“That’s my guy. … We won the game. … I told him not to put too much on giving targets and all that. Just worry about winning.” Crabtree said after the game.
Baltimore Ravens (5-5) are preparing to face the struggling Raiders this Sunday, and the rookie is about to start his second game, because of Joe Flacco’s injury.
The veteran quarterback, who once won the Super Bowl with the Ravens, still has issues with his hip, and he missed Wednesday’s practice. According to some sources from the club, he will be probably ready for Week 13 and the clash against the Falcons, but until then he has to rest.
For Jackson, this is the opportunity to fulfill his promise and to lead his team to another win. Raiders are not a very good defense, and they rank 26th in the league, which means that the last pick of the first round in this draft, has a lot of space to feed his wide receivers with some huge passes. Also, this would be his way of repaying them for their sacrifice in his debut as a starter.
“I have to get those guys the ball because they’re helping me out,” Jackson said after the clash against the Bengals. “They’re not out there to block. Their job is to catch the ball and help us win games. That’s my job to get the ball to him.”
117 yards on the ground, 150 through the air.
— NFL (@NFL) November 19, 2018
Baltimore is tying the second place in the AFC North with Cincinnati, behind the Pittsburgh Steelers, and in front of Cleveland Browns. Their prospects for reaching the playoffs are solid, especially because they have three not so strong opponents at home, Raiders, Buccaneers, and Browns. With these three wins, and one road triumph, postseason would be almost certain. Though, their obstacles away from M&T Stadium are pretty tough, Falcons, Chiefs, and Chargers.
The next two games are essential for them, particularly the one in Georgia.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.