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Late for Work 4/14: Numbers Debunk Ben Roethlisberger's Criticism of Lamar Jackson 

(From left to right) QB Ben Roethlisberger & QB Lamar Jackson

Numbers Debunk Ben Roethlisberger's Criticism of Lamar Jackson As a Pocket Passer

Ravens fans had no love for Ben Roethlisberger during his playing days, and they're not going to be fond of the former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback as a podcaster either.

Speaking about Jackson on “Footbahlin with Ben Roethlisberger,” he said: "You don't really fear Lamar's arm, his accuracy, all the time. He's got a huge arm, he can make things happen when he scrambles, but you don't fear him sitting in the pocket just picking you apart."

Criticism of Jackson as a passer isn't new, but it's always been more anecdotal than factual.

Here are the facts: Jackson's career numbers from the pocket are better than Roethlisberger's.

To be fair, Roethlisberger was complimentary of Jackson overall. He also said the addition of wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is "a big deal."

"If you've got that guy on the outside, you better put a safety back or it's one-on-one, you can just throw it to him," Roethlisberger said. "So it definitely creates some potential opportunities for that offense and for Lamar to run if he has to or to take those big shots down the field if they're bringing the safeties down."

On a side note, Roethlisberger shared that he learned about the Ravens striking a deal with Beckham via text from 23-time Olympic gold medalist swimmer and Baltimore native Michael Phelps.

"He was all like, 'Yeah, we got him!'" Roethlisberger said. "I said, 'Congrats on this,' and he's like, 'Yeah, he'll help us beat you guys.'"

Ravens Reportedly Explored Trade for Courtland Sutton

In Beckham, the Ravens landed the proven veteran receiver they were seeking. However, General Manager Eric DeCosta apparently was leaving no stone unturned in his effort to upgrade the wide receivers room.

According to The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec, the Ravens talked with Denver about trading for Courtland Sutton.

"At one point, there appeared to be a deal to be made for Courtland Sutton, but the Denver Broncos decided they didn't want to trade him," Zrebiec wrote.

Meanwhile, five-time Pro Bowl cornerback Darius Slay, who said he was very close to signing with the Ravens before re-signing with the Philadelphia Eagles last month, suggested on his podcast that more big moves could be in the works for Baltimore.

"I heard a lot of other news, but I'm gonna keep the news to myself. … I heard a lot of other stuff [about] people wanna go over there," Slay said. "We gonna stay tuned, and if I'm right, I'm gonna tell you all I was right."

Former Ravens Derrick Mason, Steve Smith Sr. Believe in Beckham

The Ravens are hoping Beckham can follow in the footsteps of Derrick Mason, Steve Smith Sr., and Anquan Boldin as 30-something wide receivers who continued to play at a high level after coming to Baltimore.

Mason and Smith spoke highly of Beckham to ESPN’s Jamison Hensley.

"As flashy and as flamboyant as OBJ is, the man has dog in him. He truly does," said Mason, who played with the Ravens from 2005-2010. "That's something you can't teach. It's just like Anquan had dog, and it's just like Steve and myself had it as well. OBJ follows in a long line of guys coming in that receiver room playing with the mentality of a defensive player."

Mason said he's not certain Beckham can return to peak form after two ACL surgeries, but it wouldn't surprise him if he did.

"I'm not going to say he can't do it. I'm not going to say he can't be the Odell of old," Mason said.

Smith, who played with the Ravens from 2014-2016, said: "What and how much does he have left? You never count out OBJ. He's super passionate. He knows exactly the direction he wants to go."

Mason pointed to Beckham helping the Los Angeles Rams win Super Bowl LVI as evidence that he can be a difference-maker.

"He's a guy that understands how to win and was a critical part in that Super Bowl game before he got injured," Mason said. "Hell, if he doesn't get injured, you can probably pencil him in as one of the guys that could have potentially received the MVP that day, because he was balling."

Former linebacker Brandon Copeland, who had brief stints with the Ravens in 2013 and 2022, also said he will never count out Beckham.

"I think the beauty of this situation with Lamar Jackson under center [is that] OBJ doesn't have to be the No. 1 guy right out of the gate," Copeland said. "He doesn't have to have all that pressure on his shoulders that he's had on other teams because Lamar is going to go to Mark Andrews. Lamar has built a lot of confidence and faith in Mark Andrews. … So OBJ can relax for a little bit, get a little more confidence in his body coming off of a year away from football, shake some dust off, and hopefully build back to the OBJ we love to watch."

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