Defensive Coordinator: 'Lamar Jackson Isn't a Tier 1 Quarterback Even If He Wins MVP 12 Times'
There have been so many bad takes on Lamar Jackson over the years that it's not even worth getting bothered by them anymore. However, sometimes the takes are so ludicrous that they cannot be ignored.
The latest slander comes from an unnamed defensive coordinator in The Athletic's annual quarterback tiers. Based on voting by 50 NFL coaches and executives, Jackson was placed in Tier 2 and ranked No. 10 overall.
"If he has to pass to win the game, they ain't winning the game," the defensive coordinator said. "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. He'll be a 1 as a football player, but not as a quarterback. So many games come down to two-minute, and that is why they have a hard time advancing even when they are good on defense. Playoffs are tight. You have to be able to throw the ball, and he is just so inconsistent throwing the ball. It is hit or miss."
Oh boy. Where to even begin?
This particular defensive coordinator must not have been paying attention last season when Jackson slayed the narrative that he can't pass to win a game when the Ravens are trailing. The unanimous 2019 MVP had four fourth quarter comeback victories and four game-winning drives last season.
Jackson brought the Ravens back from a 19-point deficit late in the third quarter to defeat the Indianapolis Colts in overtime, finishing 37-for-43 with 442 passing yards, four touchdowns, no interceptions and a 140.5 rating. He also led the Ravens to wins over the Kansas City Chiefs and in overtime over the Minnesota Vikings after trailing by double digits midway through the third quarter.
In the 31-25 overtime win over the Colts, Jackson became the first quarterback in NFL history to complete 85% of his passes in a 400-yard game; first quarterback in NFL history with 400 yards passing, four touchdown passes, no interceptions and 50 yards rushing; and he had the highest completion rate in a 40-pass game in NFL history (86%).
"I can't believe this is being said still right now," NFL Network's Rich Eisen said of the notion that Jackson can't win with his arm. "Are there people still thinking that he can't throw? Maybe he's not as consistent a thrower as a Tier 1 quarterback, but what does that mean that he's more of a football player. Is that your way of saying he's a running back? What the 'f' does that mean? So you have to take some of this stuff with a grain of salt."
As for the assertion that Jackson won't be a Tier 1 quarterback even if he wins the MVP 12 times, that's just absurd.
"To me it is nonsense to say he is not in Tier 1," an offensive coach told The Athletic. "He is one of the more special talents to ever play the game, and Baltimore is a contender because of him."
Plenty of people on social media called out the anonymous DC for his outrageous stance on Jackson, including NBA star LeBron James. Here's a small sample:
Starting Left Guard Is Top Position Competition
It was noted in yesterday’s Late for Work that ESPN's Jamison Hensley identified the competition at starting left guard as the Ravens' most compelling position battle as training camp begins tomorrow. The Baltimore Sun’s Jonas Shaffer and The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec concur.
Ben Powers, Ben Cleveland, Tyre Phillips and Patrick Mekari are all in the mix.
"Powers, who's entering the final year of his rookie contract, was maybe the steadiest of the Ravens' left guards last season, finishing with the lowest overall blown-block rate of the trio (1.6%), according to Sports Info Solutions," Shaffer wrote. "But if Phillips and Cleveland enter camp with lower floors, their ceilings are also higher. Phillips, who struggled when pressed into tackle duty last season, was solid in his 40 snaps at left guard, with no blown blocks, according to SIS. Cleveland, meanwhile, impressed in pass protection as a rookie but lacked the knock-back power he showed in Georgia's running game."
Zrebiec wrote: "Health could go a long way in deciding the competition. Cleveland and Phillips have both had issues staying healthy in their young careers. Powers has seemingly never been fully embraced as the preferred starter by the organization, which used third-round picks on guards in back-to-back years after they selected Powers in 2019 and also signed Kevin Zeitler. Mekari's versatility may make him more valuable to the team as the sixth offensive lineman. If you were to label a favorite, it would probably be either Cleveland or Phillips, but it's truly a pick'em situation."
Ravens Reportedly Agree to Terms With RB Corey Clement
Competition for the No. 3 running back spot is another training camp battle to keep an eye on. The latest player to enter the competition is veteran Corey Clement, who has agreed to terms with the Ravens, according to his agent.
The 27-year-old Clement has 795 rushing yards and 10 total touchdowns (seven rushing, three receiving) in his five year-career with the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys. He had four catches for 100 yards and a touchdown in the Eagles' win over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII in February 2018.
With the Ravens' top two running backs, J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards, on the physically unable to perform list, Clement joins Mike Davis, Tyler Badie, Justice Hill and Nate McCrary as Baltimore's healthy running backs.