It was the battle of Ohio to open week 2 of the NFL season as the Browns hosted Joe Burrow and the Bengals. This match up was about much more than who would come out on top.
Lamar Jackson does not signal a changing of how the quarterback position is to be played.
Jackson’s year-long rise from what was thought of as a rookie project to sophomore megastar of the NFL does not represent that the NFL is going to be going all-in behind the mobile/dual-threat quarterback. Jackson’s ascension should not come as a huge surprise and represents a freakishly talented individual more than it does a league moving in the direction of one certain playing style.
The complete shock over the transformation of Jackson at times is complexing to me. After his admittedly shocking playoff debut last year in the wild card round against the LA Chargers, everyone wanted to write him off.
He had an “awful” performance in the words of Stephen A Smith. But that was a rookie, a rookie playing in his first-ever playoff game and in total his eighth start in the NFL going against the eighth-ranked defence in the NFL according to Pro Football Reference.
But if you followed Jackson’s college career, you would be able to see that he also suffered from freshman blunders in his first year of football with the Louisville Cardinals. He posted a stat line of 1,840 yards, 12 touchdowns and eight interceptions while rushing for 960 yards and 11 total rushing touchdowns.
But in his next year, he blossomed into a college superstar, leading the nation in total touchdowns with a combined 30 passing touchdowns and 21 rushing touchdowns. Jackson went on to win the Heisman trophy that year, similar to how he is to be crowned MVP after his second season once the NFL awards are announced.
Jackson should have been given his time to learn the NFL, not expected to just step up instantly as a hall of fame quarterback. Now following a similar pattern to his college career, it seems the Jackson era has many years to come.
The idea around the NFL with Jackson’s transcendent season is that the QB position is moving in the direction of the style of play that Jackson represents. Instead of trying to force this argument of ‘it is the end of the throw-first QB’, people should just be more open to just accepting what Jackson represents, a transcendent once in a lifetime talent.
What Jackson is doing has never been seen before, breaking Michael Vick’s record for most rushing yards by a quarterback in a season whilst also leading the NFL in passing touchdowns with 36. Jackson has put together a season that will reward him with MVP and that well, no other player so far has been able to replicate.
People should just sit back and enjoy the rollercoaster that is Lamar Jackson, as who knows how long his career will last due to his risk-taking playing style. We might never see a season that even comes close to representing this type of production from a quarterback, so this whole idea of just getting stuck in the idea of the ‘throw first QB is dead’ instead of just enjoying what Jackson is doing this season is silly.
The throw-first QB still dominates the majority of the league, with young quarterbacks such as Patrick Mahomes, Baker Mayfield, Deshaun Watson, Sam Darnold, Daniel Jones and Carson Wentz all representing quarterbacks who prefer to use their arms in the big moments of the game.
This showcases that Lamar Jackson represents a unique athlete that we should all just sit back and enjoy, not this whole idea that he is the ‘changing of the guard’.