Should the Baltimore Ravens be concerned about Lamar Jackson’s durability after 710 hits?

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Aug 22, 2022 OWINGS MILLS, Maryland – Lamar Jackson, the NFL’s most elusive athlete, could hardly move on the practice field the last time he was there in 2021 for the Baltimore Ravens. Jackson favored his ailing right ankle as he limped from practice to drill.

Jackson arrived at training camp seven months later looking better than ever. He added 18 pounds to his reported weight from previous season, bringing his total weight up to 230 pounds.

Greg Roman, the offensive coordinator for the Ravens, stated, “I told him he looks like a different guy. You know what I mean when I say that shaking his hand feels a little different?

Jackson has had a strange offseason; he has been frequently questioned about contract discussions but less about his durability. Following a dive at Jackson’s heels by Browns linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, he missed the final four games of the 2021 season. For the first time in his NFL career, Jackson missed games due to injury after getting out of the pocket and completing a pass.

With his ability to break big runs and extend pass plays by dodging defenders, Jackson has emerged as one of the league’s greatest playmakers since taking over as the Ravens’ starting quarterback midway through the 2018 campaign. Jackson has been hit 710 times, which is 100 more than any other quarterback during that time, so there is a concern.

Jackson, who is into his sixth season, thinks he has demonstrated the viability of his dual-threat playing style. There are more faked-out defenders than head-on collisions. His 33 rushes of 20 yards or more more than make up for the three practices he has missed due to injury. Jackson thinks the circumstances of the play support his assertion, despite the fact that he had just recovered from his most serious injury in the NFL. In fact, Jackson is willing to exercise his fifth-year option and forego signing a contract extension because he is so convinced he won’t sustain another serious injury.

“Can you tell me how the injury occurred? In the pocket, Jackson claimed, trying to pass. “I’ve been pleased with my performance. However, I suffered my first injury as I attempted to shed and remain in the pocket. Therefore, I believe it speaks for itself.

Jackson completed his 5,000 passing yards and 2,000 rushing yards in 35 games, which is the fastest time period in NFL history. He had seven games with at least 200 passing yards and 50 rushing yards last year, tying his personal league record.

Jackson has made 615 attempts at running. In his first four years, no other NFL quarterback has carried the ball more than 500 times.
Jackson’s planned runs had decreased for the Ravens each of the previous three seasons, but team officials view Jackson’s injury as an outlier.

Roman remarked, “The thing with Lamar is that he’s probably one of the top athletes at the position in known human history. ” Therefore, it would be quite foolish to ignore that, wouldn’t it?

Officials with the Ravens have long claimed that while Jackson is in the pocket, the worst hits may occur. Shots from his blind side are more likely since his eyes are fixed downfield.

Jackson rarely collides with the ground when he bursts out of the pocket because he is focused on the defenders. He has better control over his environment.

When it comes to bending his body to deflect blows, Roman said, he is a wizard.
John Harbaugh, the Ravens’ coach, shared his opinion.

You should be worried about that with any quarterback because they can get hit in the pocket, but Harbaugh noted that he had a knack. “He’s done it his entire life; I think he’s really skilled at it, and he doesn’t actually get struck that frequently or that severely.

Now because it’s football, it goes without saying that he will need to manage and play the long game in that manner. But in that regard, I kind of trust him.

With 3,673 yards, Jackson is already the seventh-most prolific rusher among quarterbacks. Only Cam Newton had more than four seasons in a row with 100 or more carries among the six quarterbacks who rank ahead of him.

Lamar, said to Ravens Pro Bowl fullback Patrick Ricard, “always seems to be in a separate category whenever people ask me about running quarterbacks.
I believe that running quarterbacks in general have very fast linear speeds. Lamar has a wide range of movement while maintaining speed.

So, I believe that’s why he doesn’t take direct impacts and why his durability is so good. Additionally, he is a strong man. You see how he appears now, right?

The worry about Jackson taking blows might go away if he gains muscle, but the additional weight has raised concerns about how it would affect his speed.

Jackson has produced nine runs in which he clocked a speed greater than 20 mph since joining the league. Only five players—Derrick Henry, Jonathan Taylor, Nick Chubb, Dalvin Cook, and Saquon Barkley—have amassed more totals, and they are all running backs.

According to Roman, he is curious to see how Jackson’s size will influence him as a runner.

“His engine is bigger this year,” Roman claimed, “when I see him put it into fifth gear here. He might therefore be a little bit quicker. It’s looking nice, but we’ll just have to wait and see how it goes.

In addition to a decline in the quantity of runs that Jacksons devised, his performance as a runner has also declined in recent years. On intended runs, Jackson’s 2019 MVP season saw him average 7.05 yards per carry. In the previous season, that average fell to 4.95 yards.

Jackson has become better at buying time and refraining from running. When he had three seconds or more to pass, he had the second-best QBR (85.7) from the previous season.

“Don’t let me coach you out of being a great player, I always tell him. James Urban, the quarterbacks coach for the Ravens, advised using your gut. “We want to perform the opening play exactly as it was intended. Since the in-cut is present and we are protected, let’s toss it if that is the play’s intended strategy. If not, let’s speak about the second play, where he really allows his exceptional natural talent shine through.

There is a tight line to walk here, but we want to run the first play first before letting your outstanding natural talent shine.

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