My late-Poppa Larry used to say way back in 2002 that, “There’s this great player in high school named James Lamar.” Now, my grandfather was a very smart man, but the sports scene was not his forte. He was talking about LeBron James and the Cavs’ chances to draft him; the rest is history.
Thus, every time I hear the name Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, I think of that story from my childhood.
It’s not that I don’t think Jackson is a great quarterback for the rival Ravens. Yes, one could also accuse me of being a homer. This extends deeper into the depths of the game of football.
It goes to the idea of “the running quarterback.”
Currently, Jackson has 124 rushes this season. That is 124 times a big defender has the chance to stick it to him. Compare that to Baker Mayfield at 17 rushes and the difference is huge.
I am not denying Jackson’s ability and how amazing he has played this year, leading the Ravens to a 9-2 record. It is simply the idea that one hit, one cheap shot and it could all be over.
That is not a risk that I would be comfortable taking, even with the ability that comes with Jackson. Too often, quarterbacks that tuck it and run end up getting hurt. That player is useless on the sideline during the game with an injury.
In 2019, some do argue that Jackson is the best quarterback in the league. 25 touchdowns to five interceptions. Compare that to Baker, who has 14 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Mayfield has played better than earlier in the season these past few weeks.
Going just by the stats and it doesn’t take a genius to say Lamar Jackson has had the better year. However, it’s more of a durability issue and that is why I would choose Baker Mayfield over Lamar Jackson, despite Jackson’s amazing numbers.
One final note: The Browns beat the Ravens in Baltimore, 40-25, in Week 4. The two teams play each other in Cleveland, Week 16 (Dec. 22). That could end up being an extremely pivotal game!