Lamar Jackson, Ravens 'Can't Just Go out and Pass It,' Says Anonymous NFL Coach

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistNovember 2, 2020

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson throws a pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020, in Baltimore. Steelers' linebacker Robert Spillane intercepted the pass and returned it for a touchdown. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Nick Wass/Associated Press

One NFL offensive coach believes the Baltimore Ravens' one major weakness as a team is Lamar Jackson's struggles as a passer this season. 

"The most important drive near the end of the game, they did not let the MVP of the league throw one pass," he told The Athletic's Mike Sando. "While Ben (Roethlisberger) is still accurate and allows his guys to work in space, there is a lot of potential error and things that need to go right for Baltimore's passing game to get where it needs to be. They can't just go out and pass it."

That coach was referring to Baltimore getting the ball back with 7:29 remaining in the fourth quarter, trailing the Pittsburgh Steelers 28-24. The Ravens ran the ball 10 straight times, driving down to Pittsburgh's 8-yard line before Jackson lost a fumble on a 4th-and-3 run up the middle. 

Granted, the Ravens ran for 69 yards on that drive, getting themselves in field position. They also ran for 265 yards for the game, carving up Pittsburgh's defense on the ground. The Ravens might argue that their run-heavy approach to that drive was "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."

The issue is that when they got the ball back with 52 seconds remaining at their own 37-yard line, Jackson went 2-of-6 for 31 yards. For the game, he was just 13-of-28 for 208 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions, also losing two fumbles. 

Granted, the Steelers have an excellent pass defense. They've given more than a few quarterbacks issues, particularly Jackson. 

Football Perspective @fbgchase

Lamar Jackson 5 INTs, 8 sacks on 45 career passes vs. PIT 8 INTs, 49 sacks on 733 passes vs. rest of NFL That's a bad play on 25% of dropbacks vs. PIT and 7% vs. the rest of the NFL.

mike freeman @mikefreemanNFL

Lamar Jackson wasn't good today but don't underestimate that Steelers defense. It's perfectly suited to stop guys like Jackson: it's fast as hell, disciplined and extremely well coached.

"The turnovers, I feel, are the reason we lost the game. I put that on me," he told reporters after Sunday's loss. "The start of the game, the first drive—a pick six. And then we drive to the red zone—I fumbled. I've got to get the ball out quicker, because we know they’re dominant up front. And then that pick off the play to the flat throwing it to Mark. I've got to clean those up, and I feel like we (would've) won that game."

For the season, Jackson has thrown for 1,343 yards, 12 scores and four interceptions, completing 60.5 percent of his passes. That puts him on pace for 3,069 passing yards, 27 touchdowns and nine interceptions, below the passing numbers he posted in his 2019 MVP season (3,127 yards, 36 touchdowns, six interceptions, 66.1 completion percentage). 

Granted, a huge reason Jackson won the MVP was that he also had a historically good season on the ground (1,206 rushing yards, seven touchdowns). He continues to be a threat in that regard, but there's little question that Jackson has regressed in the passing game, at least through seven games.