Thursday, December 01, 2022

Mike Preston: The Ravens QB Lamar Jackson is a superstar under constant control. It is natural. | A COMMENT

Mike Preston: The Ravens QB Lamar Jackson is a superstar under constant control.  It is natural.  |  A COMMENT

There’s always drama around Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson.

This is the nature of the job, especially when you are the face of the organization and a candidate for the NFL’s Most Valuable Player. When he skipped training last week due to struggling with chills and fatigue, the question was, will Jackson play against the Chicago Bears?

He didn’t.

The question this week is, will Jackson play 100% Sunday night against the Cleveland Browns?

Learning never stops.

“No, I’m not buying it, to be honest,” Jackson said under the microscope. “I won’t buy it all.”

Well it won’t stop. Some of the drama is unfounded, and some Jackson has brought on himself. There is also an added element of notoriety because it fits with Baltimore’s personality: he cheers for the overachiever or loses.

This was not the case with New York Jets quarterback Joe Namat in the late 1960s and 1970s. He longed to be in the spotlight, wear fur coats, star in pantyhose commercials, and guarantee the biggest win in NFL history. There were other quarterbacks who caught the attention of the whole country because they are weird and will never grow up, like Green Bay’s Brett Favre and Aaron Rogers, the last Packers player.

On the contrary, Jackson is the complete opposite.

According to some team officials, he does not read newspapers or watch ESPN. He does TV interviews, but mainly because he has to do it as a team spokesman. For the most part, Jackson is quiet, low-key, loved and respected by his teammates, but there is intrigue because he is so gifted and young.

Of course, he also had coronavirus twice.

It is possible that if he confirmed that he had been vaccinated, his recent cold symptoms would not have received such attention, but this interest probably will not disappear until the pandemic is over. And as long as he skips training, there will be constant drama.

“It happened, but I’m not worried about it because I’ve been healthy all my life,” Jackson said earlier this week. “I have never had a problem with the disease while I [came] here. So, I really don’t know what it is, but hopefully it’s over, if anything.

May be. If he was Joe Smith, a sitter from Nebraska, it wouldn’t be such a big deal. But he’s Lamar Jackson, 2019 MVP, the only person more elusive than Houdini.

This is why there has been talk of how Jackson curled up in a blanket on the flight to Chicago and how he slept the night before playing with the bears. And then there was a video of Jackson walking slowly into the stadium, just like when the cameras caught him running into the locker room during a game in Cleveland last year to take care of some cramps.

And remember how Jackson stepped onto the pitch and gave a good 44-yard pass to the Marquis Brown and then helped orchestrate the 55-yard winning goal from Justin Tucker with two seconds left?

It was as if someone had written the screenplay for an old Hollywood Western, and Jackson walked out in arms in this final showdown.

The drama never stops.

Look at Jackson’s contract situation. He has no agent, and negotiations dragged on. There are some fans out there who want this problem resolved and his work with the Ravens entrenched for a long time.

But no, that makes too much sense. Let’s call the team from Entertainment Tonight first.

Maybe we’re all just accustomed to former Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, who had two emotions: dull and dead. We can now see Jackson do a backcountry flip against the Kansas City Chiefs after Flacco struggles to slip his entire career. There were no complaints of back injury after at least a few days.

More drama.

As for Jackson, he is more concerned with what he does in the offseason than being hit by a 300-pound defender on game day. In March 2019, he posted a video of him driving at 105 mph. In May 2020, video captured Jackson playing beach soccer and crashing onto a nearby jet ski.

During this offseason, there were footage of Jackson hosting representatives from a wide receiver and defending himself on the basketball court while negotiating a contract that could net him more than $ 40 million a year.

This is life on the edge. Call it what you will, but it fits the soul of Baltimore. Jackson, winner of the Heisman Trophy, fell to the final pick of the first round of the 2018 draft. After leaving Louisville, he was criticized for being more of a runner than a thrower and that his mechanics were poor.

While Jackson has proven many people wrong, the media still talk about how Jackson has shown that he can go from behind and defeat quality opponents. In fact, it’s time to bury this “not bad for a quarterback” topic.

This is all part of the Baltimore intrigue, but let’s not forget that Jackson is only 24 years old. He is expected to catch a cold and do very, very stupid things. He’s probably lived in a box for most of his life and is about to go beyond those boundaries.

And when he does, there will always be drama, because he is one of the best defenders in the NFL. Some of them are not needed, but some are assigned to him.

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