Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson has burst onto the scene this season as a bonafide superstar talent at his position. His breakout campaign has made him the likely clear-cut choice to earn the MVP award. Jackson has proven that he can more than excel at quarterback at the next level, which he had plenty of doubters along the way. One of those looks like they continue to be a Hall of Famer, who is still holding onto some slight against Ravens’ star quarterback.
Bill Polian didn’t believe in Lamar Jackson as a QB
When the Ravens selected Jackson, there were many questions about whether he could be a capable quarterback in the NFL.
There was no questioning his gifted athletic ability, but his struggles with accuracy drew concerns that could lead him down the play that many mobile quarterbacks in the league have had. That included Polian, who was vocal before the 2018 NFL draft stating that he believes he can excel as a wide receiver. (H/T Scott Polacek of Bleacher Report)
“I think wide receiver. Exceptional athlete, exceptional ability to make you miss, exceptional acceleration, exceptional instinct with the ball in his hand and that’s rare for wide receivers. That’s [Antonio Brown], and who else? Name me another one, Julio [Jones is] not even like that.”
Polian also voiced Jackson was “clearly not the thrower” that any of the quarterbacks in his draft class were and had a lack of accuracy on his passes. That notion had stuck around through much of the pre-draft process for Jackson, with a few teams asking him to work out with the wide receivers. In light of that, he held firm in his desire to be an NFL quarterback.
The Heisman award winner got his chance with the Ravens and hasn’t looked back since, while Polian has admitted to being wrong about that stance.
Bill Polian slights Lamar Jackson again
In his first full go-around as the starting quarterback for the Ravens, Jackson took the league by storm as he led the team to the best record in the league behind his stellar play.
The 23-year-old displayed tremendous improvement with his passing as he led the NFL with 36 touchdown passes to just six interceptions, first with an 81.9 quarterback rating, and held a 113.3 passer rating. Jackson was phenomenal running the ball, breaking Michael Vick’s quarterback rushing record as he recorded 1,206 rushing yards. He also set the NFL mark with 100 rushing yard games for a quarterback.
Jackson was the centerpiece of the Ravens’ being the league’s most explosive offense that ranked first 33.2 points per game and became the first team to average more than 200 rushing yards per contest. Despite all that, Jackson didn’t earn a unanimous vote for the First-Team All-Pro, as Polian was one of three voters who voted for Russell Wilson instead, according to Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk.
That has seen more criticism thrown Polian’s way as Jackson put together one of the best seasons that any quarterback has ever had. Nonetheless, it’s more fuel to the fire for the soon-to-be MVP.
Lamar Jackson is focused on winning a Super Bowl
Throughout the entire process, Jackson has remained honed in on leading the Ravens to the Super Bowl. That has stayed his message, even with the talk around him shifting towards MVP chatter.
Jackson made it clear in his draft day interview with Hall of Famer Deion Sanders that he wants to bring a Super Bowl to Baltimore. His lasered-in focus and “nobody cares, work harder” have been at the core of his success in the NFL that has helped him reach this point quite early in his career.
He has the opportunity to silence the critics with a deep playoff run. Jackson and the Ravens will start that journey first gainst the Tennessee Titans.