What Would Joe Theismann Tell Lamar Jackson About Avoiding Big Hits?

Now sitting at 1-0, the Ravens look like they have the potential to be just as dominant of a football team as last year — and maybe even better. Former NFL MVP and Super Bowl XVII champion Joe Theismann believes third-year quarterback Lamar Jackson will bring a heap of trouble for Ravens opponents this season.

The Ravens dominated the Cleveland Browns, 38-6, Sept. 13. Jackson completed 20 of 25 passes for 275 yards and three touchdowns. He also led the way for Baltimore’s rushing attack. Jackson ran for 45 yards on seven attempts, averaging just shy of 6.5 yards per carry.

The former Washington quarterback is impressed with Jackson’s abilities on the field and sees his rushing skills as very difficult to defend.

“When you have that kind of a threat to be able to take off and run, I think it makes it difficult for defensive coaches to say, ‘We’re going to man up because we think that’s the best way to attack this offense,'” Theismann said on Glenn Clark Radio Sept. 11. “The problem is you don’t have anybody on the field that can be a spy. You don’t have anybody on the football field who can run like that. It limits defenses from creating different concepts to try and attack.”

The success Jackson has running the ball is very impressive, not to mention what he does through the air. But as with all quarterbacks who like to run, questions arise about whether Jackson is putting himself in harm’s way and whether his team should encourage him to take fewer hits.

Theismann insisted that Ravens coaches should let Jackson be something of his own coach on the field.

“I, in no way, would even entertain the thought of saying to him, ‘Hey look, protect yourself by doing this, we are not going to run you as much,'” Theismann said. “I would say, ‘Hey look, you know you want to be our quarterback, you know what you have to do to protect yourself, now go play your game.'”

It’s scary watching young, talented quarterbacks take hits, whether it’s a blindside hit from an outside linebacker or a 300-plus-pound defensive linemen falling awkwardly on his leg. But Theismann said that if the Ravens want to continue to dominate their opponents, Jackson must continue to run the ball without fear.

How long can Jackson keep up his MVP status and continue to be a force on the field from the quarterback position? Theismann thinks Jackson’s reign has only begun and that he is not going anywhere anytime soon. It’s just about constantly adjusting and adapting, Theismann said.

“I think it’ll work for a career,” Theismann said of how Jackson plays the game. “As a matter of fact, I reference him in my book [“How to be a Champion Every Day”] with one of the little changes he made last year — shortening his stride a little bit to make it a little more accurate.

“And I think what Lamar continues to do is get better, and this is what happens when you have someone with such a tremendous skill set. The thing that people think is that he’s already there, but it’s a process, I guarantee it.”

For more from Theismann, listen to the full interview here:

Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox