Lamar Jackson: 'I Strongly Doubt' NFL Has Figured Out How to Stop Me

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVAugust 24, 2021

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson warms up before a preseason NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers Saturday, Aug. 21, 2021, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)
AP Photo/Nell Redmond

Reports of Lamar Jackson's NFL demise are greatly exaggerated—at least in the eyes of the Baltimore Ravens star.

ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reported last week that some inside the NFL believe "this might be the year that everybody figures out [Jackson]." The 2019 MVP isn't so sure.

Baltimore Ravens @Ravens

"I doubt it. We're gonna play ball." <a href="https://twitter.com/Lj_era8?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Lj_era8</a> <a href="https://t.co/tjmGf2mrfk">pic.twitter.com/tjmGf2mrfk</a>

"We're going to see," he told reporters Tuesday. "But I doubt it, though. I strongly doubt it."

Jackson's passing numbers dipped slightly in 2020 after he led the NFL in touchdown passes (36) and QBR (83.0) the year before. He threw for 2,757 yards and 26 touchdowns while completing 64.4 percent of his passes last year. He also made history by becoming the first quarterback to eclipse 1,000 rushing yards in back-to-back seasons, finishing with 1,005 yards on the ground.

If that represented the opposition getting closer to solving the 24-year-old signal-caller, then coaches still have a long way to go before he's fully neutralized.

Baltimore's 20-13 win over the Tennessee Titans in the AFC Wild Card Round illustrated how there isn't a perfect solution for "figuring out" Jackson.

The Ravens went three-and-out on their first possession, and their second drive ended in an interception by Malcolm Butler. Jackson wasn't having a great game, which was all but forgotten after he broke free for a 48-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.

Baltimore Ravens @Ravens

PUT SOME RESPECT ON HIS NAME<br><br>Tune in: <a href="https://t.co/X3pPHm4VP4">https://t.co/X3pPHm4VP4</a> <a href="https://t.co/m5o2uSVpvt">pic.twitter.com/m5o2uSVpvt</a>

Jackson carried the ball 16 times for 136 yards and one score. Despite not being at his best, he found a way to tear Tennessee to shreds. 

In general, the idea that defenses will get ahead of Jackson to some extent presupposes the idea he and the Ravens coaching staff won't make adjustments.

The 2016 Heisman Trophy winner will probably never be a traditional dropback passer because that isn't his game or the best use of his abilities. But he'll presumably continue to adapt in a way that allows him to continue to excel.