Lamar Jackson: Have to Move on From Playoff Loss, Improve Everything


Lamar Jackson certainly didn't plan on being in Orlando right now. In his mind, and in many others, he should be preparing for a trip to Miami for the Super Bowl.

A shocking loss to the Tennessee Titans knocked the soon-to-be MVP out of the playoffs, but Jackson is rolling with the punches alongside his 11 other teammates at the Pro Bowl.

Jackson was still his fun-loving self, mingling with fans and rubbing shoulders with many of the NFL's best players. The playoff loss will sting for a long time, but Jackson can't do anything about it right now.

"We're trying to get somewhere. All of us wanted to be in Miami for the Super Bowl. We weren't planning on cutting it short," Jackson said.

"It happened and we were hurt about it, but it is what it is, and we have to move on."

It's new ground for the Ravens under Head Coach John Harbaugh. In the six playoff trips from 2008-2012 and 2014, Baltimore won at least one playoff game each time. Now the Ravens have been bounced in their playoff opener in back-to-back years – both times at home.

After posting the best regular-season record (14-2) in the league, Baltimore knows it was good enough to be at this year's Super Bowl. Looking around at a dozen Pro Bowlers (with one more, Marcus Peters, at home) only hammers that home.

So what do the Ravens need to do next year so they're preparing for the Super Bowl instead of at the Pro Bowl?

"Get better ourselves – each individual," Jackson said. "Just get better at what we need to, focus on that, and we're going to see when OTAs come around what we're looking like."

Jackson will start with himself. He has lost only five NFL games and two of those defeats came in the playoffs. That's tough for an intense competitor such as Jackson to swallow.

It will be tough to improve on an MVP season that featured an NFL-high 36 touchdown passes and breaking the all-time quarterback rushing record, but that's what Jackson will aim for. He made huge leaps in Year 2, and he's just 23 years old.

Asked what he needs to improve on this offseason, Jackson said "everything."

"There's always room for improvement," he said. "I'm not the best. I'm not the greatest. I'm going into my third year and I'm trying to get somewhere. I'm trying to get to that Super Bowl, so I've got to work on everything."

For now, Jackson is enjoying his time in Orlando. He said it was "dope" to be surrounded by so many other NFL stars, and was taken aback by New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees saying his kid couldn’t wait to meet him.

Jackson received the most votes of any player and will start Sunday's game. Though much of it is just for entertainment, Jackson said he wants to win Sunday's game for the AFC. His teammates and coaches love that all he cares about is winning, and that apparently extends to the Pro Bowl.

"You're playing against the best people so I don't know how it's going to play out," Jackson said. "I hope we win. I want to win, so that's what we need to do."

Despite the playoff loss, Jackson hasn't lost his focus on winning, including a Super Bowl. And he hasn't lost his confidence either. Asked how he would defend himself, Jackson said he didn't know.

"I'd be scared if I was playing against myself," he said. "I'd be kind of nervous like, 'He can do it all.' So I don't know."

Check out the scene from the Pro Bowl in Orlando, where Baltimore has 12 players and the coaching staff.

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