As the Baltimore Ravens reached the bye, quarterback Lamar Jackson has led Baltimore to a better record than last year at 5-1, but he has not thrown the ball as effectively as in last year’s NFL MVP season.
Jackson believes the decline in every passing category — from completion rate to passing yards to touchdowns — has nothing to do with his mechanics.
“I don’t think I’ve slipped,” Jackson said. “There are certain situations in the game where you have to throw in certain windows, with the guys putting their arms up trying to slap the ball. There were a lot of tipped passes during our games, and I’m trying to find angles. So, that’s why sometimes my elbow drops trying to get the ball out.”
Jackson’s sidearm delivery has surfaced at times over his three NFL seasons. But it appeared he dropped his arm to deliver the ball more often in Sunday’s 30-28 win over the Philadelphia Eagles after getting some passes batted down at the line.
Ravens quarterbacks coach James Urban isn’t worried about Jackson’s delivery.
“I’m more concerned about his base, his platform and the biomechanics of the delivery than some of those things that he does great naturally,” Urban said. “I know there are some other players around this league who get publicized for how amazing it is that they can throw sidearmed.”
Entering this season, the Ravens were hoping for Jackson to take a step forward as a passer. But Jackson has regressed in every passing category through six games.
Jackson ranks 24th in completion rate (63%), 25th passing yards (1,135), 23rd in yards per attempt (7.01) and 14th in passer rating (99.2). He is 13th with 10 touchdown passes after leading the NFL last year.
The Ravens work hard on the “biomechanics” of a quarterback’s delivery, which includes the coordination of his feet, hips, arms and then the follow through.
Has Jackson struggled with that the past couple of games?
“I don’t see that at all,” Urban said.
Jackson has struggled to complete passes recently. Over his past four games, he ranks 31st in completion percentage, ahead of just Joe Flacco and Sam Darnold.
“I think he had about five throwaways this past game — that’s part of it — which, as coaches, we applaud,” Urban said. “One of our quarterback commandments is, ‘Do what’s best for the team at that moment.’”
What hasn’t changed with Jackson is the victories. He’s 24-4 since taking over as the Ravens’ starting quarterback midway through the 2018 season, which is the best in the NFL over that span.
But Jackson has been visibly more frustrated than last season.
“It’s how the game is going,” Jackson said. “My emotions will probably flare up a little depending on that, but it’s just a competitive edge. I don’t like to mess up, and I feel like our guys should feel the same way.”
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