How will teams prepare to face Lamar Jackson?

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Stopping Lamar Jackson is one thing. Preparing to stop him is another.

Making it harder to solve the problem that is the Ravens offense is that fact that it’s difficult to get ready to face the Ravens, as the Rams learned both before and during Monday night’s 45-6 debacle.

“You can’t truly simulate that, especially when you look at just what a great job they do of creating the conflict,” coach Sean McVay told reporters after the game. “When you look at when it is some of those gives downhill, those things hit faster on the second and third levels. Then when Lamar does pull it on some of those zone-read plays, he’s got the ability to get around you and then what he can do as a runner, just feeling space, because you’re not tackling during the week, those do make it very, very difficult to simulate those types of things.”

The lack of tackling during the week — and the overall reduction in padded practices and tackling to the ground generally — contributes to the inability to tackle during games those players who are hard to tackle. Coupled with the overall physicality of the Baltimore offensive line, a defense can quickly find itself on its heels, as the Rams were last night. Eventually, the onslaught broke their will.

At this point in the season, there’s not much that can be done to prepare to better tackle a team with players like Jackson and Mark Ingram, who on the brink of 30 is running more angrily than ever. But teams can try to better simulate the Baltimore offense via the scout team, if they have the backup quarterbacks or the fast, agile athletes at other positions (like a receiver who previously played quarterback in college or high school) with the skills to properly play the role of Jackson.

For any team to have a realistic shot at shutting down Baltimore’s offense, it becomes critical to conjure a scout-team offense that can approximate what the Ravens do. For teams likely to face Baltimore in the postseason, the sooner they begin making those plans, the better.

67 responses to “How will teams prepare to face Lamar Jackson?

  1. Belichick already has him figured out he just didn’t wanna make that adjustment at halftime, because that would have given the Ravens the opportunity to counter Bills adjustments, so Bill continued with their defensive strategy that they went into the game with it was very noticeable when they came out for the second half if you were paying attention. The Patriots continued with the same scheme they started the game with, but I can promise you a completely new look that Lamar has never seen before come playoff time. That’s the genius of Belichick he isn’t gonna tip his hand on what he has for you, and he was smart enough to know the Patriots are probably gonna see Baltimore again so save it for when it matters most. We’ll see how good Lamar is come playoff time until then he’s just another hot quarterback on a team that might be peaking too early just like Mahomes was last year

  2. It’s hard to imagine a scout team having an athlete who can reasonably simulate Jackson, because if he could, he would – or should – already be the starter.

  3. Patriots never lose twice to same team in same season. He will have a game plan against Baltimore second time around. First game Jackson ha=d 160 yards passing and 60 yards rushing. Nothing earth shattering. 37-20 score was mostly mistakes and Patriots not converting on 3rd down. The game will be much closer second time around especially if game is in New England instead of Baltimore. In past with a lesser defense the Patriots have shut don greatest show on turf, Sean McVay’s high flying Rams and all those Peyton Manning Colts teams with great offenses. The Ravens are good offensively and can run the ball well. But they do not scare New England. If New England plays well defensively they will win in playoffs. Of course if New England holds top seed the Ravens will have to get through Mahomes and Chiefs first. Never count out a Dynasty and the defending champions.

  4. “the inability to tackle during games”
    That’s the WHOLE problem.
    Players don’t like to tackle and they’ve got the owners to agree that they don’t have to tackle.
    This silly pushing each other around is what you get, and that is what you’ll have until some coach decides that he is going to demand that his players know how to tackle.
    That is the game after all.

  5. Why don’t teams put a QB spy on him. Use a safety or fast linebacker and spy him the whole game. He HAS to be contained.

  6. It wasn’t much of a problem last year so what’s changed?

    Unfortunately for the Ravens, the schedule gave Belichick first hand experience of the guy ahead of the playoffs. Had these two teams met for thr first time in the postseason, it’s Ravens all the way. Now Belichick has a chance to figure things out.

    In 2004, the 6-0 Patriots gave up 3 quick scores to Pittsburgh but after falling behind 21-0 early ended up scoring slightly more the rest of the way en route to a 34-20 defeat. Later in the AFCCG, the 14-2 Patriots went into Pittsburgh again, this time jumping out to a 24-3 lead and winning 41-27.

    This year’s game with Baltimore reminds me of that. They dropped a quick 17 points but then as they became more familiar …

    Let’s see what kind of start the rematch gets off to, especially if the game is in New England.

  7. You need an offense that can control some clock and score points. How bad is that Rams team though? They have crashed and burned! The division will be SF and Sea for the foreseeable future. SF vs Balt will be great FB! Just hope the NFL and the refs let them play it as 2 hard hitting teams want to do.

  8. The best way to have a chance to beat Baltimore is to score early. Have to sell out to get on the board first so that they can’t dictate the game so easily. Easier said then done, because you may have to get a stop and then score against their D, who are playing very well.

  9. hang3xc says:
    November 26, 2019 at 10:26 am
    Why don’t teams put a QB spy on him. Use a safety or fast linebacker and spy him the whole game. He HAS to be contained.

    ————

    The Patriots did contain him pretty well for at least half the game, but lost anyway. It’s going to be tough. It’s hard to have a spy fast enough to cover/catch him and strong enough to tackle him.

  10. Look, hating on the Ravens is part of my DNA. But how is there no buzz for John Harbaugh as Coach of the Year?

  11. As much as I’d love to see the Ravens beat the Pats in the divisional round this season, I’m not sure Bill will get beaten twice in the same season. Believe me, he’s studied that game hardcore ever since. Plus, Baltimore cannot keep using Jackson the way they are now. He will begin to break down quickly and the Ravens are an injury away from a losing season. This isn’t a farce, this is a fact and it happens to all speedy quarterbacks. The Ravens are riding that razor blade to the big show this season, but defensive coordinators in this league will have them figured out by next season. It’s the same with all of the quarterbacks that come into the league like him, they get figured out or worse…injured and then never the same. I hope he stays healthy, I hope they make it to the SB this season…but I hope The Ravens figure out a better way to keep their investment protected and not at risk every play.

  12. “Patriots never lose twice to same team in same season. He will have a game plan against Baltimore second time around. First game Jackson ha=d 160 yards passing and 60 yards rushing. Nothing earth shattering. 37-20 score was mostly mistakes and Patriots not converting on 3rd down. The game will be much closer second time around especially if game is in New England instead of Baltimore. The Ravens are good offensively and can run the ball well. But they do not scare New England.”

    ——-
    A couple of things here:

    First, it was 37-20 with a couple of huge Ravens miscues as well. That game could have easily been 44-13. Any unbiased fan will tell you that the game wasn’t close at all.

    Second, the Ravens offense isn’t just “good”. Its innovative, and record-breaking. And this isn’t about being “scared”. Its about figuring out a way to keep the Ravens from full and proper execution. They failed the first time. I think its a significant uphill climb to avoid the same fate, regardless of location, if there is a second time.

  13. Baltamore is winning because they are the only team playing the type of run first football they do. Lamar has the passing ability of a scout team QB , but do a great job making teams sell out for the run. So the 18 times he does throw a game. They are wide open. Lamar never has to make a tough throw. The thing is, if anyone hits the guy and he gets dinged amd cant run. They are done. He would be like a deer with a broken leg. He doesnt have the true QB ability. There is a reason this has never worked long term. People need to stop treating him like a QB when he runs.

  14. Just watch this weekend and the 49ers will show you how to stop Lamar. All you need is Nick Bosa, Deforest Buckner, Arik Armstead and Fred Warner to slow him down.

  15. It’s a very successful offense but a risky one. The risk being running the QB 8-10 times a game and fingers crossed he doesn’t get injured. If they had to play RG3 would they have the same success?

  16. One thing people don’t talk about when it comes to the Patriots-Ravens game is that the Patriots looked like the better team after the first 20 minutes or so, even with the Edelman fumble return for a TD. Had Edelman been down on that play before the ball came out, the game could have been a Patriots road victory in fact. The Ravens also got a first and goal instead of a FG attempt early in the game on a very uncharacteristic offsides penalty by the Pats. Yeah, the Ravens steamrolled them for the first quarter and deserved the win overall, but to say the Patriots got destroyed and didn’t look like they were capable of measuring up to the Ravens is not true at all IMO. I think who has home field advantage and which team is healthier if they meet again will be major factors.

  17. WelcomeToBroncoLand says:
    November 26, 2019 at 10:17 am
    Wanna stop Lamar? Put him in a Broncos jersey

    —————

    HAHAH!!!! Love that post.

  18. Patriots never lose twice to the same team in a season – until they do.

    There are no rules here anymore. The Pats have a much different team this year, and as Brady has said, they’re all about defense and special teams. If they get down by more than one score in the playoffs, all bets are off. It reminds me a little of Peyton’s last year, though clearly Brady is playing better than that right now.

    That said, who knows how Jackson will be in the playoffs. He wasn’t good last year, and he’s still a very young quarterback. They’re the most dangerous team to face in the playoffs, but chances are they’ll be playing in NE.

    And wouldn’t it be cool if the Bills snuck in and won the division? An extreme longshot, but still a possibility – it would be fun because it’s late November and everyone is already assuming that the Pats have locked up the division and homefield.

  19. My question is when is jackson going to be injured? He does not slide,(aka wilson) he runs into lb and safeties. It is only a matter of time.

  20. hang3xc says:Why don’t teams put a QB spy on him. Use a safety or fast linebacker and spy him the whole game. He HAS to be contained.

    ————
    Bullcharger replies: The Patriots did contain him pretty well for at least half the game, but lost anyway. It’s going to be tough. It’s hard to have a spy fast enough to cover/catch him and strong enough to tackle him.
    ————

    You are 100% correct. It IS a tough task. But I think the Pat’s have a guy capable in Jamie Collins. Dude is a FREAK athletically. Remember him jumping both lines if players without touching any of them and blocking a field goal? Did you ever see the video of him doing about 10 backflips in a row? Absolute freak of an athlete. If anyone can do it, he can.

  21. You beat them like you beat the Pats. You have to play a great game. The defense cannot make any mistakes and the offense has to stay on the field and score TDs not settle for FGs.

    That’s the MO for all good teams.

    Should the Pats play the Ravens in the playoffs. I expect BB will make Jackson a pocket passer. They will make it their job to make sure Mark Ingram and Jackson will not exploit them outside the tackles.

    I expect Van Noy and Hightower to set the edges and then have Collins and Chung “shadow” Jackson. Man coverage with Gilmore on “Hollywood” Brown making him pretty much obsolete. Will that work….who knows.

    Ravens will also have to deal with a healthier (hopefully) Pats offense. Wynn back at LT and more PT for Harry and Sanu will only help. Sony looked good last week vs Dallas. If he, Burkhead and White get it going in the run game, watch out for that offense to suddenly be a top 5 one.

    I for one am really excited for a possibly Ravens vs Pats rematch. I know both teams will throw out different games than what they did a couple weeks ago.

  22. Lamar is going to create a defensive position we haven’t seen. Someone who, like a fullback, blocks for guys like Arron Donald…that plus a scheme to get one more defensive player to converge is the only way I see.

  23. It’s pretty funny to watch the Pats fan boys say how Bill has it figured out and it will be different. Trying to detract from what is the most dynamic offense in the NFL in 2019. This as their offense struggles. Not a Ravens fan but they’re the best overall team in football right now – and I think it will stay that way when they meet the Pats in the AFC tournament.

  24. mutantclover says:
    November 26, 2019 at 10:57 am
    One thing people don’t talk about when it comes to the Patriots-Ravens game is that the Patriots looked like the better team after the first 20 minutes or so, even with the Edelman fumble return for a TD. Had Edelman been down on that play before the ball came out, the game could have been a Patriots road victory in fact. The Ravens also got a first and goal instead of a FG attempt early in the game on a very uncharacteristic offsides penalty by the Pats. Yeah, the Ravens steamrolled them for the first quarter and deserved the win overall, but to say the Patriots got destroyed and didn’t look like they were capable of measuring up to the Ravens is not true at all IMO. I think who has home field advantage and which team is healthier if they meet again will be major factors.
    ————————————-
    What the Pats fans with their blinders on have failed to notice is that the Ravens defense is much better than it was when they played the Pats. The only way the Pats win the
    rematch (if there is one – another example of how pompous some Pats fans can be) is if the Pats go over to the “dark side” and sign AB. Without a significant downfield threat other that JE (who has the heart of a lion) I just don’t see how the Pats can score into the 30s, which I believe they will have to do to beat the Ravens.

  25. rfkimball says:
    “Patriots never lose twice to same team in same season. He will have a game plan against Baltimore second time around.”

    —-
    He will have a better game plan, but the first part isn’t quite right. You are forgetting about
    05: Denver
    06: Indy
    10: Jets (lost 2 of 3)
    11: Giants
    12: Ravens
    15: Broncos

    They’ve also beaten teams twice in a season many times, and beaten a team they had lost to many times.

    BB is best at adjusting on the fly. A Ravens rematch favors the Patriots IMO, but not comfortably

  26. “One thing people don’t talk about when it comes to the Patriots-Ravens game is that the Patriots looked like the better team after the first 20 minutes or so, even with the Edelman fumble return for a TD. Had Edelman been down on that play before the ball came out, the game could have been a Patriots road victory in fact.”

    ———

    The 2nd half drive chart tells an entirely different story. Last two Ravens drives of the game:

    14 plays, 81 yards, TD
    14 plays, 68 yards, TD

    The game wasn’t close. The Patriots have some serious improving to do to have any shot in a potential rematch.

  27. rfkimball says:
    November 26, 2019 at 10:21 am
    Patriots never lose twice to same team in same season.

    Umm yes! They have. Raven beat them during the regular season in 2012 and stomped them in the AFC championship game that same season.

  28. rfkimball says:
    “Patriots never lose twice to same team in same season. He will have a game plan against Baltimore second time around.”
    —–
    They have lost twice to the same team in a season quite a few times but what they haven’t done is lost to a team in a rematch where they were beaten decisively the first time. They’re something like 5-0 in that category in the Brady/BB era. As a fan of the champs, I like that stat 🙂

    As for Lamar the dude is unbelievable and his throwing is light years better than it was last year. But what will happen if teams key on and take away Ingram? I’m surprised it hasn’t happened yet. Does LJ really want to run that many times? We’ll see…

  29. And sometimes the Patriots go undefeated all the way through the regular season and playoffs only to get beat by ELI.

    What’s your point?

  30. Belichcik will have a master game plan second time around. First game was first time played against a running QB like Jackson. Expect a different result second time around. Beating New England twice in same season is nearly impossible because of the great coaching. Belichick has stopped better QB than Jackson in playoffs. No one in New England is scared of Lamar. They will embrace it as a challenge and play hard for 60 minutes. Mahomes had 5000 yards and 50 TD and still got beat in playoffs by Patriots. A Dynasty fears no one. NE is the defending champion. See you in January.

  31. You do what teams have traditionally done with success against running quarterbacks. And that’s hit him. The defense must hit Jackson and hit him hard when the opportunity presents itself with Jackson as a runner.

  32. The Ravens are winning at the line of scrimmage with their OL and TEs. Until someone starts to take control of that part of the game, they will keep racking up 200+ yards per. I’d give BB and his defense decent odds with a second crack at it. Andy Reid, Bill O’Brien… not so much.

  33. rfkimball says:
    November 26, 2019 at 11:31 am
    Belichcik will have a master game plan second time around. First game was first time played against a running QB like Jackson. Expect a different result second time around. Beating New England twice in same season is nearly impossible because of the great coaching. Belichick has stopped better QB than Jackson in playoffs. No one in New England is scared of Lamar. They will embrace it as a challenge and play hard for 60 minutes. Mahomes had 5000 yards and 50 TD and still got beat in playoffs by Patriots. A Dynasty fears no one. NE is the defending champion. See you in January.

    —-
    Football is all about matchups. The challenge is that the Patriots defense, as awesome as it is, is designed to beat the Chiefs. The Ravens are a different story and a totally different matchup. They’ll have to do things differently and I expect they will should the opportunity come. Lots of season left though so first things first – champs can get that 1 seed and go from there. 🙂

  34. motox866 says:
    November 26, 2019 at 11:27 am
    When was the last time a team that won a Super Bowl had a running quarterback?
    —-
    6 years ago

  35. I am a Patriots fan. However Lamar Jackson is the most dynamic player in football. As long as he doesn’t get hurt no team has a chance. Baltimore has a great defense BESIDES their super offense.

    Last year the patriots OUTSCORED Kansas city. I see no way the Patriots can outscore Baltimore unless it’s a winter hail game in foxboro like against the raiders in 2002?

    I still haven’t figured out how Cleveland mashed then in week 4.

    I don’t think the Chargers unique playoff defense they used against the ravens last year would work again this year

  36. Lamar is College Football at its best.
    Bring in some fast College Players and Coaches who are familiar with this scheme and problem solved.

  37. Good defenses always catch up to good offenses in time. Peyton Manning Dan Marino and Aaron Rogers have only 3 titles combined. Lamar better win fast cause sooner or later defenses will catch up to him in scheme and speed and then he will get his head taken off and end up like Vick and Griffin and McNabb etc etc. Running QB never last long.Lets see what the master Belichick and number one defense in NFL have for Lamar the second time around. No history has been made yet. Mahomes with 5000 yards and 50 TD was supposed to win a title last year until he met the dynasty. Lamar has not won anything yet expect fantasy points and MVP discussion. Patriots do not give a crap about the social media noise, fantasy points or MVP. They only care about winning. As of right now New England is number one seed in AFC and the defending champions. They will be waiting and hell bent on revenge.

  38. Lamar’s future looks like his backup, history will repeat itself. These players only come rarely so watch him before he gets broken
    ——————————————————-
    Fingers crossed that Jackson will have a long, healthy career. The gap between Lamar Jackson and Robert Griffin as athletes and football players is huge. The kid is elusive, instinctual and resourceful. Griffin had only straight line speed and little feel for the game. Additionally, Jackson is a hard worker who labored successfully in the off-season to become a better thrower, while muscling up noticeably – check out his neck and traps!

  39. Here’s my concern. It’s week 17. The Patriots somehow managed to preserve a one game lead on Baltimore for home field advantage. Bill decided to play the final game (I think it’s Dolphins week) by running on every single play until a Miracle on Miami’s final play results in a 1 point Patriots loss (7-6).

  40. I’m really impressed by Jackson and the Ravens, just like I am by Jimmy and the 49ers. But lets wait for at least a week before jumping to conclusions. Both teams can make a huge statement next sunday, but both teams will leave tons of tapes for the playoffs and it will be a lot more dangerous for Lamar to run against the 9ers than the Rams.

    The Chiefs did not make it to the Super Bowl last year and the Rams did but only because of the worst no-call in history.

    The real season, without those crappy teams, starts in January.

  41. There is nothing intimidating about going to Foxboro in January. Baltimore has won two blowouts and lost two close games in the Harbaugh era. One was the Evans/Cundiff debacle, and the other had two 14 point leads blown by the Ravens. I’m sure you all aren’t worried about seeing Baltimore again either, seeing as how every Ravens article has more Pats fans weighing in than Ravens fans.

  42. The league will need to change the rules to protect Lamar especially as his popularity grows. I still believe the Patriots will stop him if they see him the second time.

  43. The Rams offense was “innovative, and record-breaking” last year, too. What did Belichick do to them in the Super Bowl again?

    —————-
    touchdowndances says:
    November 26, 2019 at 10:52 am

    Second, the Ravens offense isn’t just “good”. Its innovative, and record-breaking. And this isn’t about being “scared”. Its about figuring out a way to keep the Ravens from full and proper execution. They failed the first time. I think its a significant uphill climb to avoid the same fate, regardless of location, if there is a second time.

  44. You have to bring pressure early and often. He destroys you if you sit back and let him run. A spy won’t work as Jackson is too fast. The defensive backs have to essentially play man every play and you have to blitz on most downs. The Chiefs held him in check in their win bringing pressure. At times in other games, when teams blitz, they are somewhat effective against him. If you make him beat you with his feet, you lose. If you make him beat you with his arm, you have a chance.

  45. Teams just need to review the Browns beatdown of Ravens in week4 (and that too at Baltimore)… While granted that it was early in the season and Ravens where still trying to figure out their identity, it is possible to use the same scheme with some confusing looks to give Ravens fits…. This is where there is no coach better than Bill Belichick to figure out some weakness that he can exploit…These are lot of ifs and buts given there are still 5 weeks to go (injuries, standings, home advantage, etc) but contenders typically start showing up during this time of the year and there is no better team prepared for these scenarios than New England…..

  46. I will be the first to stand up and applaud if/when they do it in the postseason. He is a blast to watch and scary for defenses to prep for.

    PS: A lot of other QBs got the early hype…Kaepernick, RG3, Mayfield, Newton, Vick, Mahomes…

    Zero SB wins.

  47. Ahh another unbeatable team this reminds me of kc last year🤔 might aswell hand them the sb trophy now.

  48. rfkimball says:
    November 26, 2019 at 10:21 am

    Patriots never lose twice to same team in same season.

    =======

    The Patriots are 3-6 when facing a team in the playoffs they lost to in the regular season. So, 67% of the time, they do in fact lose twice to the same team.

  49. Just look at the game film between the Ravens and the Rams and do exactly the opposite of what the Rams did.

  50. For anyone saying the Patriots can’t be beaten twice in a season can stop it. The Ravens beat them twice – once in the regular season, and also in Foxboro to advance to win Super Bowl 47.

  51. Attack the weak links to blow up the plays, turn Lamar back towards pursuit, tackle him HARD to th moment he declares as a runner regardless of whether he has the ball (he may still have it), avoid penalties and turnovers, score more points. That’s how you beat the Ravens. I’ve laid out the general plan, now get to work coaches across the NFL and expose this thing!

  52. It’s obvious that the Patriot fans that honestly believe Belichick holds back to avoid “tipping his cap” before the playoffs have never played a down of football in their life. And if you have, please don’t tell anyone. He did everything he knew to try. Go watch the film. Belichick tried heavy packages, 6 DBs same as the Chargers used in the Playoffs last year, Zone, Man Cover 1, Man Cover 0, All out blitzes, Spies…..NOTHING WORKED. Believe it or not, the great genius coach didn’t know what to do to stop Lamar. But it’s ok, all coaches are stumped right now because they’ve never seen anything like Lamar and this offense. In the history of the NFL, there’s never been a QB that’s the fastest player on the field, AND has the offense designed to take advantage of that with designed runs with play action off of it. In Michael Vick’s prime he was the fastest but he was operating in a traditional offense where all his runs came off passing plays. RGIII was straight line speed without the athleticism and vision of Lamar, and he was much more wreckless as a runner taking on LBs and Safeties. Capernick ran some of the same scheme but they did it more out of spread where the Ravens use 3 TEs. Capernick was straight line speed as well and didn’t have as consistent an intermediate passing game that Lamar has showed this year. Unless Lamar gets hurt, like it or not, he’s going to give the Patriots D problems. This myth that Belichick “holds back” scheme for a later date is just false. Is he the best and adjusting and figuring out schemes to take away what you do best? Absolutely. Will he have wrinkles for Lamar that he hasn’t seen? Yes. But unless the Pats D gets faster between now and whenever they meet again, Lamar will be a problem. And it will get worse if he continues to improve his passing.

    And to those who keep bringing up using the 6 DB scheme that the Chargers used during the playoffs last year, teams have tried it and it doesn’t work this year. Last year the Ravens ran a half baked offense out of spread that they installed halfway through the season. It was mostly reliant on Lamar running wide because they didn’t have an Ingram. This season they run 3 TEs most of the time. You put 6 DBs on the field you’re inviting the Ravens to run because their TEs are excellent blockers. Now you’ve got undersized DBs trying to get off blocks and tackle Ingram.

  53. Ingram’s going to get his yards. Jackson’s going to get his rushing and passing yards. Ravens are going to score.

    Follow the Chiefs’ blueprint and put more points on the board than the Ravens.

    Baltimore’s defense is not undefeatable.

  54. Please, folks, the expression is “tipping your hand” which means inadvertently showing your cards, as opposed to “tipping your hat/cap” which means saying hello/goodbye.

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