Is Lamar Jackson Changing Football?
It was a big Sunday in the NFL. I in epic shootout New Orleans. Where niners quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo outduel drew brees Amazon's in a forty eight to forty six win? Breeze carved up the. NFL's top up ranked passing defense for three hundred and forty nine yards and five touchdowns but Garoppolo who had three hundred and forty nine yards and four touchdowns of his own led a game winning drive that ended in a Robbie gold field goal as time expired whose hard to kick in the niners are now eleven into you and hold an important tiebreaker in the race for the top seed in the NFC and in a rematch of last season's AFC title game. Pat Mahomes flexed his raining. MVP Muscle and the chiefs defense came up huge in the final minutes of their twenty three sixteen win over. Tom Brady and the Patriots New England had won. Twenty straight at home coming into the game with the win the chiefs now nine and four clinched the AFC west title for the fourth straight this season but our story today is about arguably the best player in the League right now as Lamar the best quarterback in the NFL yes he's the MVP this season. He's the best. Lamar Jackson has been lighting up the NFL all season as the Ravens have built up an eleven two record and rattled off nine. Straight wins including a victory over the bills on Sunday. He became just the second quarterback ever to run for one thousand yards this season. And he'll almost certainly break. Michael vicks thirteen year. Old Single season rushing record quarterback soon today the athletics. She'll Kapadia joins us to talk about. How the Ravens bet on Jackson by rearranging their offense to suit his skills and how that bet is paying off in a big way and whether or not Jackson's and the Ravens success could be a blueprint for other teams in the future from wondering athletic? I'm can beat the Davidson and I'm no. It's Monday December ninth and this is the leave. It felt like something was happening. There is something about the emotion for the past us. Don't matter because this isn't a story. The athlete it stays with you as most of us have found out the hard way getting into debt as easy and getting Out is hard especially if your credit score isn't great thankfully now there's upstart dot com the revolutionary lending platform. That knows. You're more than just your credit score four and offers smarter interest rates to help you pay off high interest credit card debt upstart goes beyond the traditional credit score when assessing your credit worthiness rewarding. 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It feels like every week extension with his legs. Yeah one of my favorite stats is. He's the the eighth best rusher this season. And he's leading the league in yards per carry. It's incredible yeah all those stats. I haven't seen anything like him before. And you know obviously whenever we talk about Lamar Jackson and we talk about you. Know his skills on the ground his running skills but we really shouldn't overlook his passing using ability. There's no doubt about it. I mean his passing numbers. If you compare them to second year quarterback they stack up very well in what what he doesn't get enough credit for is his ability to read coverages and also his decision. Making you know you saw in that game against the Patriots. They tried every different coverage in in the book with Bill Belichick to confuse him and it didn't work. He knew what he was looking at. You saw that Monday night. Football game against the rams that's going up against Wade Phillips one of the best defensive coordinators in the NFL and you can see it on film where he's saying you know. Maybe we can confuse the Mark Jackson accent. He's only in his second year and I mean Jackson just knew exactly what he was doing getting rid of the football so that really is the part of his game that you know it doesn't get shown with all the highlight reel plays but if you're watching the film we're talking to opposing coaches. Were talking to his teammates. That's what's really stood out and we see this in this game. Aim yesterday his ability to improvise. There is at one play there in the red zone and he looks like there's nothing on the ground for Jackson flipping charcoal the goal. Nick coyle these for the touchdown on conventional but effective so good at school yard plays and that's the kind of exciting stuff we've seen from Lamar this season. Yeah just that little flip. I mean that is what has made defensive coordinators so frustrated with this guys you can it almost. No what's coming at times. You can have every player doing what they're supposed to do every assignment and at some point just the improvisational skills that we see see from him where it almost requires a defender to be in two places at one time to stop him and Yeah you're right that that was another incredible play. It seems like he has is at least one of those every week. And what has John Harbaugh had to say about what he sees from. Lamar so far. I think our boys just kinda shocked at how Mature Jackson Ms at twenty two. There's one clip against the bengals. That kind of went viral were harbaugh. goes up to Lamar Jackson. It's a blow out. And he goes up to him on the sideline and says you know you've changed the game locates. He's country refugees twenty years when I know what you're doing knowing you're going to see kids wearing number eight jerseys for the next twenty years trying to play quarterback and Jackson's reaction is like that's cool but I'm trying to win the Super Bowl right now and you can see just like wow. This kid really is special. I don't have to sort of coach him to be humble or WANNA get better. Do those different things. That's just sort of his makeup. The way he's wired. Also can you give us a little background on Lamar Jackson. Yeah he grew up in in Florida. He got heavily recruited. He was the great high school player but his mom specifically wanted to make sure he was going to go somewhere and be a quarterback so Louisville was the school that said we promise you if if he comes here. He's going to play quarterback and Lamar Jackson. Are you kidding me with this. He played as a freshman freshman. I think he started eight games with the. MVP OF THEIR BOWL game touchdown on Jackson Daniela's then he just took off and in had just an incredible sophomore year. The winner is Lamar Jackson of University of Louisville. Won The heisman. Trophy had another good year as a junior and then Enters the draft and gets taken by the Ravens and when he first came into the League there were some teams and definitely some pundits who thought he might be better off else as a wide receiver. I don't think that Lamar Louisville kids in that in that discussion in fact there's a question that he may be. He might be a receiver and it has to do with girth and and and skill set as well we now know. A number of teams have also requested the Jackson workout with the wide receivers as well. They want to see both workouts Jackson's yet to say at least publicly whether he's amenable animal to that. Why was that part of the conversation at all? I mean there are so many things at play. I think you can start with these sort of bigger picture after that. NFL teams are not great. At evaluating quarterbacks I it's hard to do and you see your after year. Where a guy the guy who drafted I is not necessarily the best quarterback out of that class when you look at it three years later so I think that's number one and then I mean there are a lot of these people in? Nfl Front offices just have a the traditional mindset of what they want out of the quarterback position or you know what that person looks like and they sort of lacked imagination to look at a player like the Mark Jackson and say there are so many things he does well. We need to build around all of his strength in a lot of teams. Just don't think about that. I mean there's a scenario an alternative initiative reality where Jackson get drafted by another team. And he's not even playing right now where he's playing in the wrong scheme and so he's drafted last year. The Ravens taken with the last pick in the first round and he's not expected to start. That's right yeah Joe. FLACCO is their quarterback to start the season they go four and five flacco gets injured. All of a sudden Lamar Jackson gets a chance and the team just takes off I mean they go six and one in their final seven games. They make the playoffs. He's the youngest. I quarterback ever to start a playoff game and that really showed them that. You know what we don't need to wait with this kid. We don't need to have him learned behind a veteran. He's ready right now and we need to sort of invest all our resources this offseason into making sure he succeeds and just remind everyone of the type of football all the ravens were playing under. Joe FLACCO I always felt like they were one of the most boring teams in the NFL. I mean not just last year with flacco the last several years you know. Some of these franchises are just sort of stuck in mud. They're boring they're irrelevant. And that was the ravens I mean I always said for those of you who watched the red zone channel you you know there are certain teams that come on and you're kind of like come on. I don't need to see what's happening with this team right now. And then all of a sudden Jackson comes in and they're changing their offense on the fly why they're changing the way they play. So it's incredible how far they've come in one year just with that. That transition quarterback and they've they've really invested invested in building a team around him. How how have the ravens built around Lamar Jackson number one is promoted Greg Roman to offensive offensive coordinator and for those who are unfamiliar with Greg? Roman he was the forty Niners Offensive Coordinator when Colin Kaepernick was playing so well from two thousand eleven two two thousand fourteen cabinet deploy or willing stutter. Step not tactic Tallin touchdown yard. I mean some players even told me that Roman shown them film those forty niners teams and you can see some of the plays that even the ravens ran against the Patriots in that big win. They had several weeks ago. You can find identical plays of Colin Kaepernick running those those plays when he was with the forty nine so that started with the coaching and then they knew they wanted to have a very good run game. They signed Mark Ingram. who was a running back for several several years with the New Orleans Saints? He's having a fantastic year. And he's brought some veteran leadership and really connected with Lamar Jackson and then they used their draft picks on some athletic speedy wide receivers. Who Jackson can Kinda grow with here over the next two three four years and she'll can you give us just a little sense of what's different about the offense that the ravens are running starting with the pistol offense so the pistol offense is just when the quarterback is about four yards behind the center? So he's not in in a four shotgun and usually you have the running back right behind him so by doing that the play can go left the play can go right. You can pass off of it. There are a lot of different things you you can do. And they like to play with two or three tight ends at a time and so you tweak it here and there just to remain unpredictable enough. That defense is don't know what you're doing and you know the Ravens actually shortened the play calls for Lamar Jackson so they can execute those plays faster. The play calls are a lot shorter. And that way you you know you can get in the huddle you can spit them out. You can get to the line of scrimmage you can change things based on how the defense looks if you WanNa know huddle or go with a quick tempo. It's easier ear to do that as well so I think it's another example of how they've done a good job with their coaching. And then the other thing with Lamar Jackson. It's kind of like a basic sort of math math math problem or a math equation where you know. Football is eleven on eleven but if you think about it a lot of teams when they call a run play it turns into eleven on ten for the defense because the quarterback is not going to be a running thread. So when you do. Have someone like Lamar Jackson who can be a runner. It evens out those numbers were there has to be a defender accounting for him on every single run play and so when you can do that it really makes things tough on defense. The lead is supported by simply safe breaking spike every single year during the holidays because families are traveling in burglars. 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NFL quarterback he's a pocket passer. Why don't we see more quarterbacks like Lamar Jackson in the NFL? This may be the start of something to be quite honest. I mean it's. It's what I have mentioned before which is that. You don't have a lot of organizations being willing to think outside the box and say hey. Can We build something years sort of a new aware of offense and you're of quarterback where the quarterback is part of the run game in addition to being a really good passer. I think why organizations have been hesitant tend to embrace that in the past actually does make some sense. And you know you do put the quarterback at risk a little bit more right if they're running if they're taking hits from these. NFL Defenders Anders. They're more likely potentially to be injured. And you know you're investing nowadays thirty five million dollars a year in a quarterback. Do you WANNA put him in that kind of risk. But you know I've heard Greg Roman the Ravens offensive coordinator other coaches say we see quarterbacks get injured playing from the pocket all the time. I and so. If you have a quarterback WHO's smart who gets out of bounds who slide to doesn't take those big hits. I think we may see more teams. Look at the Ravens as an example and say you know what we can sort of expand our scope of what we think of a quarterback be in the NFL. Well along those lines John Harbaugh had this great quote. Where he he talked about that talked about how you know? The history of quarterback style has evolved over the years. The game was probably revolutionized with Bill. Walsh and Joe Montana and that's been the model for the last twenty five thirty years and we've all been chasing that model pretty much trying to find that quarterback and find that rhythm and all the things that go basically said Ed. Bill Walsh and Joe Montana they revolutionized the NFL with the West Coast offense and he said what's the next era gonNA look like we're about to to find out in Baltimore and so it was a pretty big thing to say at the time. Maybe it was his got maybe. He was trying to show confidence in his team in his quarterback. But it it really has sort of come to fruition where what they're doing is unlike any other team in the NFL. Do you think for this to take off and to become a larger pattern. We're GONNA need more quarterbacks that can do both at the level of Lamar or do you think that. It's just a matter of embracing and cultivating quarterbacks who can do that slightly above baverstock great point because anytime we see something like this happened. Then everyone thinks it's the start of some huge trend and sometimes you have a really special player player like there's not going to be a Lamar Jackson in every draft. Where any team can do this? You know those guys are hard to find. I think what you will probably say is is that there will be teams willing to sort of experiment with that a little bit. Maybe take chances on guys they might not have taken chances on before but to sit here an act like a and five half the league is going to be doing what the Ravens are doing. I don't think that's true. I guys have very different skill sets. I think the big thing is you need to build around their strengths and weaknesses and not try to force them to play a style of play. That is not conducive to though strengths and weaknesses that really should be the big takeaway that GM's owner scouts else coaches take from what the Ravens have done with Lamar Jackson more so than. Hey let's let's go get a dual threat quarterback throughout all the success this season. Lamar Jackson this twenty two year old kid. He seems who stayed pretty level headed while the word. MVP is thrown around a lot and conversation with his name. You spend a lot of time in Baltimore two more talking to him and reporting on the story white. What sense did you gather about Lamar Jackson as a person I think authenticity really stands out? You know he just had one press conference. It lasted ten minutes in the first question. If people have seen the clip against the bengals he put on the sunglasses on the sideline and now with the first question. Oh actually trailers Roy. He had glasses on route quit. I just put them on in the second question was like what does it mean to have. So many African American quarterbacks having success this season and like he didn't miss a beat newness incredible keyboard others coming in next generation. Can you know he talked about how his mom like the way he played the previous weeks. She's finally cleared how I used to play. He said that he has a sense row. Excited Ravens Vince. Fans are because he's reading his e end like fans are deeming him you know what. MVP caliber quarterback like checking his the ends to see what the Fan Dan saying so. I just thought that was really cool. And then I was talking to his teammates about a bunch of different stuff but it would come back to him over and over again where I thought at that point in the season his teammates might be a little bit sick of sort of this guy getting all this attention or answering so many questions and it was the opposite. You know I would ask about one thing and they would answer answer and then they would say but you know Lamar is the guy who makes the entire engine go. He's the leader of this team. All those different things so I think his personality the way he connects with teammates his authenticity. Those things stood out to me more so than anything else and it seems like he's not he's not shy of criticising himself when when he doesn't doesn't perform up to par absolutely and I really appreciate that you know I covered the game the ravens had against the forty niners and he had a big fumble in that that gave turns on the speed spun down and he loves football and the food. Just pick it up the first time. That Jackson has lost a fumble. The Era Sanford and after the game his press conference someone asked. How long did you think about that fumble? And he was like I'm still thinking about. It was my fault absolutely right now of the ball in my hair. You know we want to score. That jobless had lots going on that one plea. I can't can't put the ball on the ground like that and cost my team and it just comes off very authentic to me especially when you see the clips going up to every one of his teammates after collect that and say my fault. My fault my fault I think that really resonates with those guys. Well uh-huh maybe put your prediction hat on a little bit. The the Ravens just clinched a playoff berth. How far do you think this Baltimore team can go with Lamar Jackson? I think they're legit super bowl contenders and I don't think there's any doubt about that. I mean look at the teams that they've beaten. They beaten the bills this week. They've been the forty niners beaten the seahawks. They've beaten the Patriots defeating the Texas. I mean these are all playoff teams. You know these are the teams are going to be playing so is IT A. Is it a guarantee or anything like that. No but I do think right now. With the way he's playing with the way their defense is is playing with the way John Harbaugh gives them an edge by being really aggressive on fourth down and kind of analytically typically minded. You combine all those different things their position to have home field advantage throughout in the AFC and see every year. What a big factor that can be so You know I think they're certainly the favorites in the AFC to get to the Super Bowl right now. Doesn't mean it's going to happen but I think they've got a good shot. We'll see you. Thanks so much for joining us. Thanks thanks for having me. You can read shield Kapadia story about Lamar Jackson and the Ravens offense and his other. NFL COVERAGE BRIDGE ON THE ATHLETIC DOT COM. Here are some other stories. We're following at the lead. The College Football playoff is set top ranked LSU LSU will face number four Oklahoma in each bowl and second ranked Ohio state will square off against number three Clemson in the fiesta bowl with three historically dominant unbeaten teams this. CFP field is special rights. The Athletic Stewart Mandel with apologies to Oklahoma. Lsu Ohio state and Clemson all happened apple legitimate shot to win it all. According to Mandel both semifinal games will take place on December twenty eighth the National Championship game will be held in New Orleans on January thirteen and a quarter of a billion dollars that's how much MLB executives free agent Pitcher Garrett Cole Could Command at the baseball winter meetings kickoff in San Diego ago the Yankees Angels dodgers are all expected to bid for full services. Whose contract is likely to break a record for pitchers other top free agent prizes include clued third baseman Anthony Ranjan and world series? MVP Stephen Strasburg both from the Washington nationals besides trades and free agents topics of conversation are expected to include the Astros alleged cheating scandal and the expansion of safety netting in ballparks and the Cleveland browns just can't or won't avoid drama there twenty seven seven nineteen win over the bengals on Sunday was overshadowed by reports that enigmatic receiver Odell Beckham Junior wants trade. Then after the game quarterback we're back Baker Mayfield called out his own team's training staff for what he said was improper handling of Beckham. Junior's lingering sports hernia injury. Mayfield quickly apologized. I but the damage was done. Ob Jay is having the worst statistical season of his career and is reportedly considering off season surgery from wondering and the athletic. I'm could be the Davidson and I'm under skelter see tomorrow.