Photo Courtesy: USA Today

Lamar Jackson Will Be Tested As a Passer Against Raiders

November 23, 2018 - 10:57 am

By Joe Schiller 

In his NFL debut against the Cincinnati Bengals last Sunday, Lamar Jackson rushed for 119 yards on an unprecedented 26 carries.

The Baltimore Ravens provided a clear game plan for their rookie quarterback and it worked against a struggling defense. Using different run concepts, the offense totaled over 250 rushing yards and looked like a completely different unit then under Joe Flacco.

The success of Jackson on the ground was fun to watch but it’s clear that kind of rushing volume isn’t sustainable. Take away three attempts for kneel downs at the end of the game and four or five scrambles and Jackson really rushed around 18-20 times.

That’s still too much on a consistent basis.

Jackson may arguably be the most talented runner in the NFL but his 6-2, 212-pound frame doesn’t give him the ability to withstand consistent hits like a running back. One wrong move or angle could leave him prone to a huge hit from an opposing defender.

Jackson understands it, John Harbaugh understands it and Marty Mornhinweg understands it.

We all understand it.

Raiders defensive coordinator Paul Guenther is going to stack the box and force Jackson to beat his defense through the air. That’s where the true test is going to come on Sunday afternoon.

Jackson showed flashes of accuracy through the air in his first start. He finished 13-of-19 for 150 yards, completing 68% of his passes and relied heavily on short throws to Willie Snead and tight ends.

It’s been reiterated time and time again by the Ravens’ coaching staff – Lamar Jackson is a quarterback.

They want him to progress more as a passer and that includes targeting big-play threats like Michael Crabtree and John Brown, who were signed in the offseason to bring that ability to this offense.

For Jackson, Sunday provides the perfect opportunity.

The Raiders come off only their second win of the season and are giving up 387.4 total yards per game. That currently ranks seventh worst in the league.

Favorable defensive matchups down the final stretch of the schedule will benefit Lamar if he continues to improve and stay on the field, along with the Ravens as they vie for a Wild Card spot in the AFC.