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In a copycat league, good luck copying this cat

In a copycat league, good luck copying this cat

Jackson said the following day. About “changing [everything] and stuff like that. … I was like, ‘OK, coach. I’m all in!’ The whole team was all in.”’ data-reactid=”17″>We know all this because of how much it excited his quarterback. “He was getting me pumped up talking about the new revolution,” Jackson said the following day. About “changing [everything] and stuff like that. … I was like, ‘OK, coach. I’m all in!’ The whole team was all in.”

sorcerous spin move and another undressing of a helpless defense.’ data-reactid=”22″>All of which contextualizes the conversation he had with Jackson four months later, on a sideline in Cincinnati, after that sorcerous spin move and another undressing of a helpless defense.

wrote last year, “What Walsh knew better than anyone in the game was that the key to success in the passing era of the NFL was to marry the right quarterback to the right scheme.” Where NFL teams erred was in assuming the right scheme was Walsh’s. They sought quarterbacks who suited it – and failed to consider that other successful schemes could be built around talented quarterbacks who didn’t.’ data-reactid=”49″>What the league didn’t realize is that it had misinterpreted Walsh’s teachings. As Michael Lombardi, a former scout under Walsh, wrote last year, “What Walsh knew better than anyone in the game was that the key to success in the passing era of the NFL was to marry the right quarterback to the right scheme.” Where NFL teams erred was in assuming the right scheme was Walsh’s. They sought quarterbacks who suited it – and failed to consider that other successful schemes could be built around talented quarterbacks who didn’t.

said in November. “I don’t play nobody else ball.” And nobody else plays Lamar Jackson ball either.’ data-reactid=”76″>Jackson, in this sense, is too unique to incite a revolution. “I play Lamar Jackson ball,” he said in November. “I don’t play nobody else ball.” And nobody else plays Lamar Jackson ball either.

“I think it’s all dependent on the funnel of talent coming through,” Middlekauff says. “Unless five more Lamar Jacksons come up through college in the next handful of years, I don’t think you’re gonna see this offense all over the league.”

And the prospect of five more Lamar Jacksons appearing seems unlikely. Is there a chance, though, that Lamar Jackson’s success could create more Lamar Jacksons?

Along with the West Coast offense came a quarterback prototype. It was, essentially, the man who first mastered it, the one it was built for, Joe Montana. The statuesque gunslinger who could sit in the pocket, see over the line and make every throw. Prototype morphed into stereotypes. The vast majority of QBs drafted between 1980 and 2015 were, like Montana, unexceptional athletes and white. Athleticism, especially for black players, was less a QB asset, more a trait better utilized at another position. If you were 6-2 and agile, and ran a 4.34 40, coaches likely taught you how to run routes and catch instead of how to throw.

Jackson said earlier this month. “Give ’em a try. You never know what’ll happen. That’s what the Ravens did, and we havin’ a lot of success, so probably in the long run it’ll help [those] players out.”’ data-reactid=”83″>“They should. They should,” Jackson said earlier this month. “Give ’em a try. You never know what’ll happen. That’s what the Ravens did, and we havin’ a lot of success, so probably in the long run it’ll help [those] players out.”

It is far too early to tell – both because those players are still in high school, and because of a question that will likely trail Jackson for the foreseeable future, even as he sprints toward an MVP. Orlovsky sums it up: “We don’t know what the end result is yet.”

Says the former GM: “We’ll see if it lasts.”

The Monday after Jackson led the Ravens to their ninth straight win, he showed up on the injury report. He’d sustained a minor quad knock in Buffalo. Back at a podium in Owings Mills, Maryland, for his weekly news conference on Tuesday, he was asked when, exactly, the injury happened. 

His chin jutted a half-inch forward. A twinkle crept into his face.

“Throwing the ball, not running it,” he said without hesitation and with a half-smile. Laughter filled the room.

Jackson is very aware of the narrative. Very aware of the stigma attached to running quarterbacks. He reads social media. He knows that the entire football world is ready to slap the “injury prone” label on him at the first hint of weakness.

View photos

Roger Goodell, left, presents Lamar Jackson with his Baltimore Ravens jersey during the 2018 NFL football draft. Jackson was the last player taken in the first round. (AP)

converting slights into fuel. Draft night in 2018 was one of many. In hindsight, it was also the best thing that could’ve happened to him.’ data-reactid=”121″>The wait was agonizing, and also galvanizing. Jackson hears criticism and internalizes it, converting slights into fuel. Draft night in 2018 was one of many. In hindsight, it was also the best thing that could’ve happened to him.

The 2019 Ravens are not only irreplicable because he is; he is irreplicable because of who they are. Because their coach, with over a decade of tenure and a Lombardi trophy, could afford to go all in on Jackson and risk failure. Because the organization behind him, one of the NFL’s best, was willing to offer unequivocal support. Because Roman, who was promoted to offensive coordinator this past offseason, was the single most qualified coach in the league to weaponize Jackson. And because the Ravens were able to put a terrifying offensive line in front of him.

The list goes on and on. The situation checks every box. Baltimore has finished below .500 just once under Harbaugh for a reason. The defense, when Jackson arrived, was already playoff-caliber, the culture already strong, the front office already in search of tight ends and running backs to complement him.

“There’s been a lot of things that have afforded that success,” Orlovsky says. A lot of things that likely wouldn’t have been in place had Jackson’s wait been shorter 20 months ago.

His point: “Not a lot of teams have the infrastructure and the support system to try to replicate” what the Ravens are doing, much less the quarterback. The Cardinals could try to craft similar infrastructure around Murray. But by the time it’s in place, Murray’s treasured rookie contract would likely be running out. And as the former GM points out, calling hundreds of read options for a quarterback making $2.2 million – like Jackson – is much different than exposing a quarterback making $30 million to hit after hit.

With a dual-threat quarterback on a rookie deal, teams, the former GM says, can “strike while the iron is hot,” unbothered by long-term consequences. That’s exactly what the Ravens are doing, in every which way. They are Super Bowl favorites, and likely will be again next year if Jackson stays healthy.

But changing the game? To say they are would be to underestimate their comprehensive excellence, and undersell the talents of the 23-year-old QB at the helm.

“Everybody’s gonna be sitting around waiting to see what happens,” the former GM says. “And especially if they keep winning, there’s gonna be copycat teams that are looking for the next Lamar. And, good luck. You’ll be looking a long time. You’ll probably be looking for another job, too.”

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Source : Yahoo Sports Link