Burleson: Lamar Jackson Will Break Michael Vick's Rushing Record
Lamar Jackson gained yards on the ground at a historic pace for a quarterback last year during his seven starts. This season, "Good Morning Football's" Nate Burleson expects Jackson to make history.
Burleson predicted the Ravens quarterback will break Michael Vick's record for rushing yards in a season for a quarterback. Vick ran for 1,039 yards with the Atlanta Falcons in 2006 and remains the only quarterback to reach 1,000 yards in a season.
"I'm going with my guy Lamar Jackson rushing for over a thousand, having just around eleven-hundred yards, which is going to be supreme when it comes to standings amongst some of the league's best running QBs of all time," Burleson said.
To reach 1,100 yards, Jackson would have to rush for just under 70 yards per game. As a starter last season, Jackson totaled 556 yards. That averages out to just under 80 yards per game, which projects to a record-breaking 1,271 yards over a full season.
Projections and predictions aside, it remains to be seen what Jackson's run-pass ratio will be this year. It's a subject that has been heavily discussed, which was noted in last Wednesday’s Late for Work.
Jackson said he expects to run less frequently this season than he did last year, when he was on pace for 272 carries, which would've shattered Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton's record of 139 rushing attempts in 2017.
Of course, it's entirely possible that Jackson won't run as much in 2019 and still break Vick's single-season rushing record.
Being mentioned in the same sentence as Vick is nothing new for Jackson. Prior to the Ravens selecting Jackson with the 32nd-overall pick in the 2018 draft, Vick said Jackson was a much better player at Louisville than he was at Virginia Tech.
"I could not believe what I had seen. I could not believe the things he was able to do. It was a spitting image of me," Vick said at the time on the "Move The Sticks" podcast. "And the only thing that came to my mind was this kid is five times better than I was when I was at Virginia Tech, only because he was going against Florida State."
Don't Sleep on Gus Edwards
It's a testament to how talented the Ravens are at running back that there hasn't been a lot of buzz about Gus Edwards.
The Ravens' signing of two-time Pro Bowl running back Mark Ingram II and drafting of speedy Justice Hill has generated a lot of excitement – and rightfully so – but Edwards should not be overlooked, Ebony Bird’s Chris Schisler wrote.
Edwards led the Ravens in rushing last season (718 yards) as an undrafted free agent out of Rutgers, thriving after Jackson took over as starting quarterback. In those seven games, Edwards rushed for 654 yards, which projects to nearly 1,500 yards over a full season. He averaged 5.2 yards per carry.
"He didn't do it as an elusive back with all the right moves. He didn't weave his way down the field. Edwards hit the hole hard and he rumbled through the defense," Schisler wrote. "Edwards is an old-fashioned warrior at the running back position. He has great contact balance and it helps him pick up tough yards."
Schisler asserted that Edwards' skill set complements those of Ingram and Hill and is "an important piece to the puzzle."
"Mark Ingram II is the leader of the group and there isn't any doubt about that," Schisler wrote. "Ingram is an established playmaker who contributes in all parts of the offense. Hill is an explosive running back. When he has the football, it's a show. Edwards isn't a change of pace back. He's punishment for a worn-down defense. He's a bruiser that could set the tone for the Ravens' ground and pound style."
Edwards has said that he wants to become a more versatile player this season, specifically becoming more of a factor in the passing game after catching just two passes last year. He showed improvement in that area during training camp. One thing for certain is that Edwards isn't flying under the radar with his coaches and teammates.
"He's one of the hardest-working players I've ever been around," Ravens Running Backs Coach Matt Weiss said in June. "He comes to work every day and is just all business and does everything that's asked and then some.
"If you're a fan of old school Ravens football, punishing run game, hard work, and that's what you're about, you should get a Gus Edwards jersey, because that's what he's about."
John Harbaugh and Inspirational T-Shirts Make a Good Fit
When Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh stood at the podium yesterday to answer questions from the media, he was wearing a T-shirt with the word "Good" on it.
As Ravens fans likely remember, that word was echoed by everyone in the Ravens' locker room to punctuate Harbaugh's victory speech after the team's win over the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 11 last year.
It's no surprise that the word ended up being printed on a T-shirt worn by Harbaugh. Wearing T-shirts such as that one has become one of Harbaugh's favorite methods to reinforce his messages to his players. As noted by ESPN’s Jamison Hensley, when Harbaugh wants a new message on a shirt, he has equipment manager William Sheridan get it done for him.
Hensley took a look at Harbaugh's best T-shirt creations. Here are a few of them:
Life is Short, Run to the Ball: "This one Harbaugh coined himself. Assistant coaches can be seen at practice and players are spotted in the locker room wearing the same T-shirts. … '[The slogan] is something that we preach pretty much every day, especially during camp and OTAs," defensive end Chris Wormley said. 'Good things happen when you run to the ball. And life is short, why not use your time on the football field to run to the ball?'"
Chase the Lion: "The Ravens' 2018 regular season came down to the final game – just as it did in 2017. But unlike the previous year, Baltimore wasn't ousted from playoff contention on a late fourth-quarter touchdown. Instead, middle linebacker C.J. Mosley intercepted Baker Mayfield to secure the victory and the AFC North title. In the locker room afterward, Harbaugh huddled his players together before saying, 'We said we were going to chase the lion. We said we're not going to flinch, not going to back down and not going to turn. We put this thing aside. We said we're going to look the lion in the eye, and when the time came, we were going to chase it in a deep, dark pit. And at the end, kill the lion.'"
Iron Sharpens Iron: "'How does Iron sharpen iron?'" Harbaugh said. "'In order for that to happen, both pieces of iron have to be at the right attitude. If they don't, if they're at the wrong angle, they'll chip each other and eventually break each other.' This rang true during the Ravens' 2012 Super Bowl season, when Harbaugh was looking to fix the culture of the team. It became a rallying cry on that team, and players still recite those words. 'That's Ed Reed's favorite,' Harbaugh said. 'Every time he calls me, he finishes up with "Iron Sharpens Iron, coach.'"
Less Is More for Former Raven Edwin Mulitalo
Speaking of T-shirts, longtime Ravens fans probably have a "Happy Festivus" or "Festivus Maximus" T-shirt hanging in their closet. The shirts became popular around Baltimore in 2000 during the lead-up to the Ravens' Super Bowl.
"Festivus" was the word used by the Ravens as a substitute for "playoffs," and Ravens left guard Edwin Mulitalo got the idea to put it on a T-shirt.
Today, Mulitalo would be wearing a much smaller "Festivus" T-shirt. Mulitalo, who played with the Ravens from 1999-2006, weighs 260 pounds, 80 pounds less than his playing weight and a far cry from the 430 pounds he weighed before undergoing gastric sleeve surgery last year in an effort to improve his health.
"I never knew how it feels to be smaller. I've been big all my adult life," Mulitalo, who is in his second season as the head coach at Southern Virginia University, told The Roanoke Times’ Stephanie Klein-Davis. "My wife says I'm like a different person. When we got married, I was a senior in college. So she's never [before] been able to hug me and touch her hands around me."
Mulitalo said his appearance has changed so drastically that some of his former Ravens teammates didn't know he was when they got together several months ago.
"I got big-timed by all my buddies," Mulitalo said. "I saw Michael McCrary and was like, 'What's up, man?' He kept walking. He didn't even recognize me."
Perhaps it's time for Mulitalo to create a "Festivus Minimus" T-shirt.
- The Ravens were No. 11 in Pro Football Focus’ rankings of all 32 teams' offensive lines.