Lamar Jackson Rumors: NFL Coaches 'Marvel' About Ravens QB's Accuracy

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMay 26, 2020

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - JANUARY 11: Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens walks on the field prior to playing against the Tennessee Titans in the AFC Divisional Playoff game at M&T Bank Stadium on January 11, 2020 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)
Will Newton/Getty Images

While most fans were transfixed by Lamar Jackson's history-making season on the ground, NFL coaches were looking more at the Baltimore Ravens star's strides as a passer. 

One question about Jackson and Baltimore's offense is whether opposing teams will devise a way to counteract the Ravens' dynamic style. 

The Athletic's Jay Glazer argued Jackson will manage to stay ahead of the competition and is "definitely going to zig when everyone else is zagging." Glazer pointed to how the opinions of his game have shifted due to his improvement in 2019:

"The thing not talked about enough with Jackson is his jump in accuracy. He worked so hard to get more accurate. It wasn't a little more accurate—it was a lot more accurate. Coaches around the league marvel about his accuracy and how much he jumped last year. He has gone through the ceiling because of his work ethic."

Jackson completed 58.2 percent of his passes as a rookie in 2018. His completion percentage jumped to 66.1, tied for eighth-best in the NFL, in his second year.

The 2016 Heisman Trophy winner wasn't padding his efficiency with shorter throws, either. According to NFL.com's Next Gen Stats, he averaged 6.5 completed air yards and 8.8 intended air yards, both of which were the ninth-highest in their respective categories.


Lamar Jackson’s 10 BEST PLAYS from his MVP season! @lj_era8 📺: #NFLHonors | 8pm ET on FOX https://t.co/6pA2O6jP5R

Glazer's comments are why so many college football fans found the idea of moving Jackson to wide receiver so laughable.

In three years at Louisville, Jackson threw for 9,043 yards and 69 touchdowns while completing 57 percent of his passes. Russell Wilson connected on 57.8 percent of his passes in three years at North Carolina State before his efficiency exploded (72.8 percent; 191.8 passer rating) in his lone season at Wisconsin.

While still having plenty of room for improvement, Jackson proved himself with the Cardinals to be a capable thrower.

The 2019 MVP will probably need to make minor changes to his game in order to remain effective in the years ahead. NFL defenses always catch up to the latest trends sooner or later, and logging 323 carries through two seasons is probably unsustainable for Jackson's long-term durability.

But there's little reason to think that—much like Wilson—Jackson won't find a balance between his running and throwing that allows him to remain a perennial Pro Bowler for years to come.