Analysts Push Back on 'Asinine' Criticism of Lamar Jackson: 'Most Disrespected Great Player Ever'
NFL analysts continue to clap back at an unnamed defensive coordinator's preposterous comments about Lamar Jackson in The Athletic's annual quarterback tiers.
In case you missed it, the DC said of Jackson, who was placed in Tier 2 based on voting by 50 NFL coaches and executives: "If he has to pass to win the game, they ain't winning the game. He's so unique as an athlete and he's really a good football player, but I don't (care) if he wins the league MVP 12 times, I don't think he'll ever be a 1 as a quarterback."
ESPN's Louis Riddick described the comments as "asinine."
"This sounded like someone who has an axe to grind. Someone who personally feels as though no matter what Lamar does he's just not going to change his opinion on him," Riddick said on "Get Up." "And then you're doing it without ever being outed for it, meaning no one ever knows who it was who actually said it.
"That is cowardly, especially when you go this hard on someone and you say, 'I don't care what you do, you're never going to reach this certain level in my eyes.' Look, I understand anonymity when it comes to reporting and sources and all that. This seems over the top. No, it doesn't seem over the top, it is over the top. This doesn't seem cowardly, it is cowardly. And this doesn't seem personal, it is personal."
When Channing Crowder said on ESPN's "First Take" that he could see the DC's point because Jackson hasn't taken the Ravens to the Super Bowl, Ryan Clark wasn't having it.
"He's the most disrespected great player I've ever seen," Clark said. "For some reason, people have this bias against Lamar Jackson from when he came out of school, from when they wanted him to go run the 40 or maybe he should switch positions. He dispelled all of those things. And y'all can't take your scouting report that said Lamar Jackson couldn't be a quarterback and do that," Clark said as he ripped up a piece of paper. "You can't do that and say, 'You know what, hell, we was wrong.'"
Jackson's teammates had his back yesterday when asked about the DC's comments.
"That's a foolish statement," defensive lineman Calais Campbell said. "If you win 12 MVPs, you're the best quarterback of all time. Certain people always have their opinions and you really can't care about what other people think. Everything Lamar does, if he goes out there and wins the Super Bowl three years in a row, people are still going to be critics."
Inside linebacker Patrick Queen said: "One thing I know is that when you're doing stuff that's different than what everybody else does and you're great at it, people don't like that Lamar going to keep being Lamar and wherever that gets him, which I know is going to be high places, great places, hats off to him. Haters going to be haters."
Tight end Mark Andrews put it more succinctly: "We'll see whoever that was, for sure."
Mike Macdonald 'Could Make a Superstar Leap'
The Ravens and great defense have been synonymous for decades, so being the defensive coordinator in Baltimore comes with great expectations.
For that reason, combined with the fact that he is the youngest defensive coordinator in the NFL, 35-year-old Mike Macdonald landed at No. 2 on "Good Morning Football's Peter Schrager's top five list of assistant coaches under 40 he's watching this season.
"That's not any team. When you're coaching the defense of the Baltimore Ravens, there's something to that," Schrager said.
In his first season at the helm, Macdonald is tasked with leading the defense back to prominence after the injury-ravaged unit ranked 25th overall last year.
"He could make a superstar leap if the Ravens come back to form," Schrager said.
Julio Jones Reportedly Signing With Buccaneers
Any speculation about Julio Jones signing with the Ravens was put to rest yesterday, as the seven-time All-Pro wide receiver is reportedly signing a one-year deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The prevailing opinion is that the Ravens will add a veteran receiver before the start of the season, and Jones was frequently mentioned as a player who would be a good fit.
Jones has been slowed by injuries the past two seasons, missing seven games in both 2020 and 2021. Last season with the Tennessee Titans, Jones posted 31 catches for 434 yards and one touchdown, all career lows.
The Ravens have expressed confidence in their young wide receivers, but The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec believes it would be risky not to add more depth and experience to the group.
"At some point, the Ravens figure to add someone," Zrebiec wrote. "Then again, we've been saying and writing that for months."
The top remaining wide receivers in free agency are Odell Beckham Jr., Will Fuller V, Cole Beasley, T.Y. Hilton and Emmanuel Sanders.