Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is one of the most dynamic players in football, having won the 2019 MVP award.
With back-to-back seasons of 1,000 yards rushing, Jackson has proven he’s one of the most dangerous offensive players in the sport. But the young quarterback is not necessarily known as an elite passer. After all, Baltimore had the league’s fewest passing attempts in 2020 at 406. The Patriots (440), Titans (485), and Jets (499) were the only other teams with fewer than 500. Pittsburgh led the league at 656.
But according to newly signed wide receiver Sammy Watkins, Baltimore’s wide receivers have been a significant part of what’s holding Jackson back.
“To be honest, everybody wasn’t getting open. I think that’s a critical part with this offense,” Watkins said Monday, via Jamison Hensley of ESPN. “We can blame the offensive coordinators, but as players we got to do our job.”
To that end, Watkins noted how excited he is to play with Jackson. And he also thinks the QB can take steps to becoming known a top passer if the players around him elevate their game.
“It takes guys getting open to be great and look great and be the Patrick Mahomes of the world and be Tom Brady,” Watkins said. “You got to have that No. 1 receiver or that No. 2 or that No. 3 nowadays to go out there and be successful and literally throw the ball with your eyes closed and be unconscious.
“If I can go out there and be healthy and the other wideouts can make plays … we can be a balanced offense. [If] we get open when we need to get open, I think Lamar can throw for those 4,000 yards or those 4,500 yards [or] 5,000 [yards] — whatever these guys are putting up. I think he can be that quarterback and be elite in this game.”
Jackson won the MVP award by throwing for 3,127 yards and 36 touchdowns while also rushing for 1,206 yards and seven TDs in 2019. But in 2020, Jackson passed for just 2,757 yards.
It’s certainly not out of the question for Jackson to develop into a passer who can lead the league in yards. But to this point, that hasn’t been the winning formula for Baltimore’s offense with Jackson at QB and Greg Roman as the unit’s play caller.