50 Words or Less: The Chip on Lamar Jackson's Shoulder Seems to Be Growing

QB Lamar Jackson

We're in the midst of July, when debates about nothing become something. With that in mind, here are some random thoughts, all in 50 words or less:

The chip on Lamar Jackson's shoulder seems to be growing. Jackson has faced scrutiny his entire career. Often, he seemed to fly above it. But there's no doubt that Jackson has been feistier, at least on social media, this offseason. He's firing back. Or maybe he's just having fun?

The latest is a Twitter spat with former Ravens safety Bernard Pollard, a man never bashful about sharing his opinion of others or himself. Pollard resurfaced the narrative that receivers don't want to play with Jackson. Jackson took umbrage, clapping back at Pollard's credentials. Hollywood Brown had Jackson's back.

The other hubbub of the week was that Jackson wasn't ranked among the top 10 quarterbacks in the league by executives, coaches and other players, per ESPN's survey. That sparked such widespread scoffs that Jackson didn't even directly respond. Player rankings don't matter. But the players often do take note.

I like Jackson playing with a chip. He's never been lacking drive, but Jackson has played some of his best football when his critics have been their loudest. I'll never forget him kicking off the 2019 season by shredding the Dolphins and proclaiming "not bad for a running back."

One of the most interesting notes in Warren Sharp’s 2022 Football Preview is the Ravens' strength of schedule compared to last year. It's significantly easier in terms of passing offenses that Baltimore's defense will face. A loaded secondary could feast. Baltimore's offense, however, will face much stiffer passing defenses.

I'm not convinced that the Ravens are done adding pieces to their defensive front. Bringing back Justin Houston seemed almost like a formality, but the Ravens still reportedly worked out Jason Pierre-Paul and he remains unsigned. Baltimore could still use another pass-rushing defensive end but doesn't have much cap space.

Baltimore's offensive line has excess, however. Assuming Ronnie Stanley is healthy, it has a chance to return to near 2019 levels of dominance. Plus, the much improved depth will leave the Ravens in much better position if/when (knock on wood) they suffer injuries, because they always happen on the line.

It's wild that Jackson and Baker Mayfield are not going to be AFC North rivals anymore. Mayfield, selected No. 1 overall in 2018 while Jackson was No. 32, is now a Carolina Panther. It seemed like we'd be watching those two battle it out for years to come.

It's also weird that Heinz Field will now be Acrisure Stadium. Add that to the Steelers being without Ben Roethlisberger and the trip to Pittsburgh will feel a little different next year. Name changes and quarterback swaps won't change the hard-hitting ferocity, however. Defenses may rule this rivalry again.

I can no longer count on two hands how many times I've watched our Superlatives video with players trying to match their teammates to their baby photos. It's so easy to see the genuine bond this team has, which will only grow throughout the season.

Related Content