OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson and several coaches were asked over the past week if his style of play is sustainable in the NFL over the long term.
The answer is always the same: Of course.
So far, Jackson has been mostly durable throughout his five-year career and knows how to absorb the big hits.
Jackson missed four games last season after suffering an ankle injury against the Cleveland Browns, but that injury occurred while he was attempting to complete a pass, not running out of the pocket.
“Do you know how the injury happened? Trying to pass in the pocket,” Jackson said. “So, yes, it is what it is, and yes, like you said, I feel like that’s a no-brainer. I’ve been good [with] how I’ve been playing. But when I tried to shed and stay in the pocket, I got hurt for the first time. So, yes, I think it speaks for itself.”
The Ravens have no plans to reign in Jackson. He is a dynamic player who knows when to get down or run out of bounds instead of absorbing a tough tackle.
Jackson has added about 20 pounds of muscle this season to better absorb those types of hits. The Ravens need to keep him healthy for any type of playoff run.
“The thing about Lamar is that he is probably one of the best athletes at the position in the history of known mankind,” offensive coordinator Greg Roman said. “So, to not tap into that would be somewhat silly, would it not? So, then you start to figure out, ‘OK, so where are the parameters here? The ceiling and the floor?’ He does such a great job in space of protecting himself, not getting hit, that he uses his God-given ability as a really ridiculously good weapon at times. He just has to be judicious.”
The key for the Ravens is to make sure they have a deep offensive line capable of protecting Jackson. The team needs to make sure they can keep him upright and not be blindsided by sacks, which can cause the most damage.
“Honestly, the worst hits are the ones you don’t see when your eyes are downfield and you’re in the pocket, and you can’t brace yourself or adjust to,” Roman said. “So, he’s a magician when it comes to contorting his body to avoid hits and whatnot though.”