The groups that had the chance to sign Lamar Jackson this off-season should feel stupid.

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When the Ravens signed their quarterback to a franchise tag that was not exclusive to them, no other clubs expressed interest in signing him. Now, he is performing like a candidate for the Most Valuable Player award in a fresh new offense.

Lamar Jackson

Both of the National Football League’s (NFL) finest teams will compete against one another on Christmas night. In the same way, the ghosts of quarterbacks, both current and future, whom we are unable to comprehend or quantify in an accurate manner, will also be present. You should put down your weapons, however, because we are not here to try to elaborate on the debate that is now going on about how wonderful Brock Purdy actually is. I am unable to consume any more Advil without risking my health.

Lamar Jackson

 

When the Ravens slapped the nonexclusive franchise tag on Lamar Jackson during the offseason, they dangling him to the football world at a time when the quarterback market was hungrier for real talent than a Fast and Furious movie. However, we are here to make fun of all the teams that would not make a legitimate run at Lamar Jackson.

When it comes to football, I have the impression that the world has moved on to the point where Jackson is regarded a credible candidate for the Most Valuable Player award. In the majority of sportsbooks, he is positioned directly behind Purdy. But if we turn the clock back six months, we can recall the very academic argument that existed for the decision to pass on one of the most frustrating players of his generation to defend. This decision was made for the simple reason that the one offensive coordinator Jackson had ever played for in the NFL chose to use him in a particular, semireckless way that ignored a very large and successful body of work at Louisville and did its best to compensate for a lack of talent at the wide receiver position. It was because of this that we were able to persuade ourselves that there was only one method to deploy Jackson.

Lamar Jackson

I believe that the argument that some clubs made in favor of a Jackson-free existence was something along the lines of: Well, if you think about it, wouldn’t it be better for us to develop around Desmond Ridder or Sam Howell?

To tell you the truth…

I will freely admit that I was totally swept away by the riptide. This is a fact. Throughout the entirety of the Jackson contractual process, Baltimore had me completely under the impression. The Baltimore Ravens are consistently one of the most intelligent teams in the National Football League (NFL), and if they hadn’t protected Jackson like a Black Lotus collectible card, what were the rest of us supposed to do? After a few cycles through the cycle, I can’t say that it didn’t start making some sense to take those two first-round picks and the maximum contract and spend that money and equity on stud skill-position players, linemen, and defenders to buoy an otherwise middling prospect at the quarterback position (by the way, I do believe that, as the quarterback position becomes more homogenized, that will be the way that the NFL operates in the years to come). Eventually, the Ravens did what they ought to have done before the notion that they didn’t necessarily value him spread throughout the organization. They gave the quarterback a contract that was significantly more generous than the extension that Jalen Hurts received. This was a sign that the Ravens had faith in Jackson’s ability to perform well over the long term.

Back in March, while we were still waiting for that contract to materialize, a series of reports were blasted onto X (the platform that was formerly known as Twitter) in rapid succession. The purpose of these reports was to assure that we were all aware that the Commanders and Falcons were not interested in dealing for Jackson.

“If I were to take an objective look at it, I would say that there is some concern over how long he can continue to play his style of game,” remarked Falcons owner Arthur Blank a few weeks after the report was released. He has missed between five and six games in each of the past two years, but we are hoping that it will be a long time. Every single game is really important to our company.

After then, there was this matter:

Martin Mayhew, the general manager of the Commanders, stated, “I’m not sure where it all comes from,” in reference to the continuous Jackson to Washington rumor. The message that we have been spreading has been quite constant from the very beginning, and it is something that keeps coming up. … It is coming from a specified location. None of us are responsible for it.”

Both the Commanders and the Falcons, as well as the majority of us who were of the opinion that Jackson was not deserving of a pair of first-round picks, were basing their projections on the sample size of what had already been observed. It is interesting to note that this is the same line of thinking that gave Brock Purdy the opportunity to be eliminated in the seventh round in the first place. Scouts at the time saw what they considered to be a huge and mainly poor set of data without a high ceiling. They did not give a second consideration to Purdy’s willingness to learn or Jackson’s ability to play in a system that he had been asking us to believe he could thrive in for years until they saw what they saw.

Because of this, you might find yourself wondering what exactly general managers and professional scouts do, at least in specific locations. If it is not their responsibility to imagine what a player will look like if he is not in his current situation, then what is their job? In the event that the function of a coordinator is not to take an extraordinary skill set and position it inside the parameters for ultimate success and longevity, then what is the job?

Lamar Jackson

Now that I’m watching Jackson, I don’t experience nearly as many symptoms of heart palpitations. Many of his runs feel similar to those of Patrick Mahomes in terms of them being just sensible scrambles, and I don’t remember us having much of a problem with Mahomes leaving the pocket from time to time (Jackson leaves the pocket about twice as frequently as Mahomes, although the Ravens still call designed quarterback runs, while the Chiefs scheme similar concepts and funnel the load-carrying responsibilities through other players).

I see a quarterback who is playing like a combination of a modern pocket passer with a release that is so quick and consistent that, if we had been looking at him the proper way from the beginning, we would have been gushing over him during the predraft process rather than going back and forth about which position Jackson should play. Furthermore, he is still capable of escaping the pocket by employing a move set and mobility that are reminiscent of the Jabbawockeez play style. Along with that, he is accomplishing it primarily in 11-personnel. You are probably familiar with the three-wide receiver, one-running back formations that are utilized the most frequently across the league.

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