I want to own up to my misjudgments.
There are two types of people in the sportswriting world. The first type consists of “hot take” artists who put forth the most controversial opinions in order to entertain an audience. These hot takes are often made at the expense of logic and reason but tend to generate clicks, as controversy always sells. The second type consists of logical and analytical sportswriters, that formulate their opinions with reason, not in order to please any audience but to give the best possible insight. As many of my longtime readers know, I’ve always tried to fit into the latter group. I’m not going to move on from one take to another without comparing my opinion to reality. I’ll always be the first one to admit when I’m wrong, and after yesterday’s surprise showing, I feel it is necessary to re-examine my position on Lamar Jackson.
“[Lamar Jackson] Would be better suited as a wide receiver or running back with his build and running ability.”
“[Lamar Jackson] Lacks the precision necessary for NFL grade touch passes.”
“If the unlikely scenario occurs that Lamar Jackson falls into the second round, the Ravens could easily justify drafting him. However, the first round is a stretch for a quarterback that is not going to play for at least two or three years, barring a massive injury to Flacco. The Ravens aren’t showing their cards by keeping rumors alive, but I find it very hard to believe the team would actually invest so much into Lamar Jackson, while not guaranteed to see it ever pay off. In short, drafting Lamar Jackson in the first round would be a very bad idea. Even if he turned out to be a great quarterback in the NFL, it just isn’t worth the risk for Baltimore right now.”
I’m not going to apologize for what I believed back in 2018. At the time, I was convinced that drafting Lamar Jackson to play quarterback was a risky proposition. Jackson had accuracy issues in college, and in my mind, he was likely to be a draft bust. This opinion was developed solely with the information on hand at that time. It’s very rare to see a mobile quarterback succeed in the National Football League, let alone one with accuracy problems.
Yet here we are, Lamar Jackson just torched the Miami Dolphins secondary by throwing 20 passes for 324 yards and tied a franchise record with five touchdowns. The common narrative you will hear espoused by anti-Jackson “pundits” is that Jackson was only able to do this because he played against the Miami Dolphins, the absolute worst team in the league. I find it completely disingenuous for any so-called expert to take this position. Yes, the Miami Dolphins are bad, but there is no way their inability to lock down receivers can be cited as the reason Lamar Jackson put on a show. Did it help? Yes, but Jackson connected on 17 of those 20 throws, yielding him an 85% completion rating. Lamar Jackson couldn’t hit that rate when passing to uncovered receivers last year, so how can we ignore the insane amount of skill he showed yesterday? Lamar Jackson demonstrated improvement in accuracy, precision, and decision-making yesterday, and no one can take that away from him no matter how bad the opponent was.
Many have called me a “Lamar Jackson hater” before, but the fact of the matter is I am not, and never was a Lamar Jackson hater. All my grievances with Jackson stemmed from his performances on the football field. My accuracy concerns were genuine, and my belief that his skillset would better suit him as a receiver was well-intentioned. The Lamar Jackson haters will continue to play down his accomplishments in an effort to keep their credibility alive. All of my opinions on Jackson came with a caveat, an out for Jackson to change my mind. And he’s done just that. Every time Lamar Jackson has had the opportunity, he has forced me to change my beliefs about him.
That’s why I’m writing this. I’m writing because Lamar Jackson has changed my mind. Jackson still has a lot to prove this year, but I am now convinced he will be the future of the franchise, so long as the progress, he made, shown in the game against Miami, continues to be demonstrated by the young quarterback. I don’t expect him to drop 5 touchdowns every game, but it is now clear to me that Jackson is in the driver’s seat of this offense, and of the franchise, moving forward.