Lamar Jackson must continue to develop as a pocket passer if the Baltimore Ravens are to fulfil their Super Bowl potential, believes Jeff Reinebold.
The Ravens star’s 1,206 rushing yards in 2019 were the most in NFL history by a quarterback in a single season, playing a key role in him becoming just the second-ever unanimous league MVP.
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Though his threat on the ground proved instrumental in Baltimore reaching the playoffs, Jackson notably improved in the passing department as the weeks went by. He led the league with 36 touchdown passes and finished the season with a completion percentage of 66.1.
When it came to the Divisional Round Jackson and the Ravens were stifled by a well-drilled Tennessee Titans side, leaving the 2018 first-round pick 0-2 in the post-season.
“This is a team that is very very close,” said Reinebold on Inside the Huddle. “They’re in the Super Bowl window that we talk about all the time.
“Their quarterback made huge strides between his rookie season and his second season but still though the question remains, and I am a big-time Lamar Jackson fan and I love the way they play in Baltimore.
“But the question will be, you talk about Steve Young, Lamar Jackson is beginning to have that monkey on his back. Until he can he win a game throwing from the pocket, the question will always be there.
“If you can force him to do that, get him behind and get him to throw from the pocket and win from the pocket, that’s the formula to beat Baltimore. Tennessee were able to do that last year.”
Jackson himself has publicly stressed the importance of him being successful beyond the regular season.
Former Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino remains a familiar reference point in that regard, having never won a Super Bowl despite his unquestionable talent under center.
“It’s about winning championships,” added Reinebold. “The one thing you can always go to, and if you’re a Marino hater, you say ‘he never won the Super Bowl’ and that’s an unfair deal.
“Maybe it’s unfair to Lamar to pin those losses on him but you’ve got to take it both ways. If they say the 19-3 was because of Lamar then he’s got to accept his share of 0-2 in the playoffs.
“The kid doesn’t run away from things. He’s very open and speaks his mind about ‘I’ve got to do better in the playoffs, I need to win a playoff game’.”
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