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Lamar Jackson finally signed his long-term contract this offseason. He’s the Baltimore Ravens quarterback for at least the next five years. It makes sense that the team is going to try to protect their investment.
Jackson said on Wednesday that in new offensive coordinator Todd Monken’s offense, the plan is for him to run less and throw more. Sounds great. Except Lamar Jackson is an elite runner.
He is not an elite passer.
That’s just a fact. People get angry when it’s said, but that doesn’t make it any less true.
Oh, you think Lamar Jackson can’t pass and is only good as a runner? Racist!
No, I don’t think Lamar Jackson lacks elite passing skills because he’s black.
I think Lamar Jackson lacks elite passing skills because … well, because Lamar Jackson lacks elite passing skills.
Spend a season watching him overthrow open receivers and you’ll understand that, too. But media often only show Jackson’s successful passes. They want you to believe he’s a great thrower. He’s not.
Jackson wants you to believe it, too. He said he’s going to throw for 6,000 yards this season.
He’s a good thrower, not a great one. Certainly not an elite one. But his running ability makes him more difficult to defend. Lessening that part of his game might extend his career. But it isn’t going to help extend Baltimore’s seasons.
“Running can only take you so far,” Jackson said, according to ESPN. “And I feel like with this new era of teams and offenses in the league, I feel like we need that. Coach Todd Monken, what I’m seeing in his offense so far, is looking tremendous.”
He’s right — in this era of the NFL, teams need to be able to throw the football. He’s just never going to be the guy that leads an aerial attack like Patrick Mahomes, Joe Burrow, Josh Allen, Justin Herbert and others.
And that’s OK — so long as the team plays to his skillset. But it sounds like they’re looking to abandon some of that playmaking.
That’s fine. If Jackson runs less, that just means he’ll be less effective. He can still be an effective NFL quarterback. But certainly not one who’s going to lift a team to the Super Bowl on the back of his right arm.
The Ravens are much more likely to get a healthy Lamar Jackson through the duration of his five-year contract extension if he runs less.
They’re also much less likely to have any major success.
That’s the deal they made when they locked him down as the quarterback of the future.
Follow Dan Zaksheske on Twitter: @RealDanZak