Eagles DC calls Ravens QB Lamar Jackson the most dangerous player in the league
Through the first five games of the 2019 season, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson had already thrown for 1,271 yards and 11 touchdowns to five interceptions and added another 308 yards and one score on the ground.
Over the same span this season, he isn’t quite on the same record-breaking pace that he was on to start his MVP campaign last year, but he isn’t that far off even though public and fan opinions suggest otherwise.
Jackson’s stats to start this year actually pretty similar from an efficiency standpoint. He has passed for 949 yards and nine touchdowns and thrown just two interceptions which have both come in the last two games and just 238 yards and just one touchdown on the ground with his legs.
He is still the most dynamic and electric talent at the quarterback position that the league has ever seen and that fact isn’t lost on Philadelphia Eagles Defensive Coordinator Jim Schwartz who is preparing face reigning MVP and the rest of the Ravens dynamic offense this upcoming Sunday for an interconference Week Six matchup.
“Jackson is probably the most dangerous player in the league,” Schwartz said. “Because there are times you can do everything right on defense and can’t catch him, or he can throw a ball sidearm underneath of a free rusher and complete a pass.
Watching Jackson do his thing on the gridiron is comparable to watching a created player on the popular video game Madden with all the gameplay sliders up. He is a threat to score from anywhere on the field whether it is throwing the ball on the run or inside the pocket or if he decides to tuck it and run himself or keeps the ball on a designed run.
Schwartz knows that the odds of him completely neutralizing a playmaker of his caliber are very low and that limiting him is easier said than done. However, he is emphasizing the importance of not getting bent out of shape when he does make a play and not allowing a high number of big plays to his players
“I think that you’ve got to have a resilient attitude when you play him, and you know that a playmaker like him is going to make some plays. You just have to limit his big plays, and you have to stay resilient. You can’t hang your [head] if he ends up making a play.”
One reason that can be attributed to Jackson and the rest of the offense’ inconsistent start to the season despite boasting a better record at this point through five games (4-1) than they were last year at this time (3-2) is how opposing teams are defending the Ravens and their dual-threat quarterback.
Even though Jackson was able to put up 17 points in the opening quarter of Baltimore’s 27-3 win over the Cincinnati Bengals in Week Six, their defense defended him very well for the remaining 45 minutes of the game.
They brought more safeties into the box and near the line of scrimmage, similarly to what the Los Angeles Chargers did in the 2018 Wildcard round of the playoffs. Jackson was limited to just three net yards on two carries, both were career lows since he became the full-time starter midway through his rookie season.
“They were a true college 4-3 type of a look, played quarters with the safeties low,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said. “They’ve played that in the past, but they hadn’t played it yet this year. So, it was a new defense that we thought we might get, but we didn’t get a chance to rep it out very much.”
After watching Jackson light the league ablaze last season seemingly out of nowhere, opposing team and defensive coordinators are drawing up formations and designing specific game plans that they believe will give them the best chance to keep him from unleashing the full fury of his electric playmaking ability.
The Ravens have a one of a kind offensive attack that is built around and is predicated upon Jackson’s ability to make an impact with both his arm and his legs. They’re going to need to find a way to consistently execute their game plan on offense no matter what opposing defenses line up in or throw at them.
“That happens to us quite a bit,” Harbaugh said. “So that’s something we’ve got to learn to deal with and handle as an offense because we run a unique scheme.”
Schwartz will undoubtedly have follow suit as some of the other teams that the Ravens have faced and show several different schemes and formation that they may not have put on film this season or in recent memory in order to give his defense what he believes will be their best chance at limiting or at least slowing down Jackson and the Ravens.
It will be up to Harbaugh and his staff to prepare for and expect for the unexpected and it will also be up to Jackson as well as rest of the offense from the offensive line to his fellow skill position players to not get thrown off kilter and continue to improve.