Ravens’ Lamar Jackson is on target for another MVP shot

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Owings Mills, Md. –Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson He’s once again a strong candidate for NFL Most Valuable Player, but he excels as a dual threat in a different way.

In 2019, Jackson became the second consensus selection for NFL MVP when he led the league in touchdown passes and rushing yards to a quarterback. Midway through this season, he is being praised for his accuracy in the passing game as much as his feet. Jackson could become the first player in league history to connect on over 70% of his passes and rush for over 500 yards.

Asked why his completion rate soared to an NFL-leading 71.5% this season, Jackson paused, gave a sidelong glance and smiled.

“What if I don’t have an answer?” Jackson replied. “I don’t know; just hard work, dedication, going out there and just competing my tail off — all of it.”

“Nothing has really changed; only the percentage, if anything.”

In fact, Jackson has experienced a lot of changes this season. He has a new offensive coordinator in Todd Monken, who is detail-oriented, especially when it comes to route-running. It also seems like Jackson, who said Monken gave him the “keys to the offense” this offseason, has direction.

Jackson’s goals also have a different look. At this time last year, Baltimore had its top wide receiver Demarcus Robinson, Devin DuVernayJames Proche and DeSean Jackson. now it Jay Flowers, Rashod Bateman, Odell Beckham Jr. And Nelson Agholor.

In terms of production, Jackson made his biggest jump on intermediate throws. On passes that traveled between 10 and 20 yards through the air, Jackson’s completion rate is 75% (36 of 48). No other quarterback connected on more than 69% of those throws this season.

“He can make every single throw that all these other quarterbacks are making. He’s really showing that this year,” the Browns safety said. Juan Thornhill Said “He’s sitting in that pocket. He’s delivering those passes. He’s showing the whole world he’s a quarterback.”

Jackson never had more points in his six seasons in the NFL. He has career bests in off-target percentage (14.2%), interception rate (1.2%) and completion percentage versus expectations (plus-4.1%).

But Jackson also remains a threat at running back. His 440 yards rushing led all quarterbacks. Only quarterback to complete over 70% of his passes and rush for over 400 yards in a season Taisom Hill And Deshaun Watson (both in 2020), according to ESPN Stats & Facts.

“You have to protect his legs,” Ravens center Tyler Linderbaum. “He’s one of the most electrifying players in the league, but also, he can throw the ball.

“He’s done a great job. We have a lot of good weapons that can get the ball. When he needs to run, he can run. When he needs to throw, he can throw.”

The next step for Jackson is more consistency with his deep throws. In Sunday’s 37-3 win over the Seattle Seahawks, Bateman got behind the defense twice and Jackson missed him both times. He bowls Bateman once and then throws it out of bounds on another occasion.

Jackson completed 31.8% (7 of 22) of passes that traveled more than 25 yards, which ranked 20th in the league. Since 2019, he has completed just 39 of those passes, which ranks 17th in the NFL.

“We’re hitting them regularly in practice,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “I think sometimes you make a decision, maybe to throw it away. Other times, you might be a step or two ahead of yourself or shorter than you should be.”

“All in all, I’m very confident in our deep passing game. I’m very confident we’re going to make those plays in the coming weeks.”

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