Did the demons really keep Lamar Jackson back?
Lamar Jackson is one of the most dynamic players in NFL history. He runs and moves like a race car, and has always been stronger than he is credited with – although he has built some muscle this season.
When defenders go head-to-head with him, their chances of success don’t decrease if they try to wake the monster on the field instead of trying to block. He averaged more than six yards per take in both 2019 and 2020. His average dropped slightly last season, but he would still have dashed more than 1,000 yards if he hadn’t missed the game. fight.
As Greg Roman enters his third season as the Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator and additions are made to the offensive line, it seems likely that Ravens offense will once again be game-focused. play is running. It was certainly a sensible decision. The Ravens’ entire running room was injured in 2021, and they were forced to rely on Devonta Freeman and Latavius Murray. By Week 11, they were still one of the best teams in the NFL at 8-3. They then lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers by one point and Jackson was injured the following week against the Cleveland Browns and missed the rest of the season.
Every week, the defense forces know that the race is coming and still cannot effectively stop it. ESPN’s Mina Kimes said on her podcast that Raven faces the most loaded boxes in the NFL in 2021, but their EPA per play when running into loaded boxes is fourth best in the league. fight. Why should the Ravens try anything else, especially when JK Dobbins is back on the roster, and Gus Edwards is finally joining him?
One problem with this dynamic barrage is that it interferes with the game in progress. Raven’s appearance and foremotion results in a less complicated overtaking behavior than many NFL teams. Last season, Raven had a lot of injuries so it was inevitable that they struggled, and their fouling certainly happened, with Jackson having the most interceptions of his career. there, 13, despite only playing in 12 games.
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“The Ravens have doubled down again on being the most sophisticated running game in football, and they have been mowing through regular season opponents for a long time with this most sophisticated running game,” Steve Young said Thursday on ESPN. “My view is that they would never have won the championship without the complex passing play. That has nothing to do with Lamar Jackson.”
Young is definitely right that it it’s not Jackson’s fault. He made a more pro-style strike at Louisville with Bobby Petrino as coach. Jackson has yet to attempt 400 passes in a single season in the NFL, although in college he did attempt 409 passes during his Heisman Trophy season in 2016 and 430 passes the next. in 2017. He did just that playing fewer games, and only one of his broad receivers from those two seasons made it to the NFL, Dez Fitzpatrick.
Roman was a twice offensive coordinator in the NFL before being hired by Raven. He worked with Rex Ryan’s Buffalo Bills through 2015 and most of 2016, and was Jim Harbaugh’s offensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers from 2011-13. Neither of those offenses are known for their dynamic passing attacks, whether Alex Smith, Colin Kapernick or Tyrod Taylor are quarterbacks.
While Roman seems a reasonable fit for a team with Jackson in midfield, I can understand why Young believes he’s not making full use of Jackson’s talents. As a great athlete as he is, Jackson has proven time and time again that he is a very good passer. He sees the pitch well and has a rocket arm. Jackson struggled with accuracy on the outside lines earlier in his career but even that is drawing near.
If he was working on an attack that was more focused on developing a fearsome pass attack, he would be even more dangerous than he is now. A defense forced to manage a complicated line of trees, and then still have to worry about Jackson being able to score with his foot from any position on the field – that’s a really worthy offense. be afraid.
But that’s not what Raven will have this season. They’re expecting Rashod Bateman to get stronger and at least be able to replace what they’ve lost with Marquise “Hollywood” Brown. Combine that with a healthier offensive line and Jackson should flip less, but as long as Raven focuses their attack around the run, they are putting a limit on how good their attack can be. .