USA Today

It feels like forever ago when some NFL draft pundits suggested Lamar Jackson be moved to receiver at the pro level, or even running back, and that’s because he’s proven himself to be one of the best in the business at the quarterback position. The former first-round pick has taken the league by storm, landing honors as NFL MVP in Year 2 after a record-setting season that saw him become the first-ever player to deliver more than 3,000 yards passing and over 1,000 yards rushing — surpassing Michael Vick en route to grabbing that crown. 

There are still some who believe his historic 2019 season was a fluke, but not the Ravens and not Mark Ingram, the latter making it clear Jackson is actually somehow better going into the 2020 opener against the Cleveland Browns. To put it more plainly, Ingram says Jackson is “a million times ahead of where he was at this point last year,” and that’s terrible news for NFL defenses who still haven’t figured out how to stop him on a consistent basis.

“He’s the man,” Ingram said, via ESPN. “He handles the outside noise and adversity great. The outside noise and the outside critics … he doesn’t pay attention to it. He stays focused at the task at hand. 

“He stays focused on trying to be the best quarterback he can be, the best player he can be [and] the best leader he can be. He’s going to continue to improve. He’s going to continue to get better. He’s going to continue to be more confident in his abilities within the offense.”

Even better for the Ravens is the fact Jackson dodged an injury scare in August, having missed a couple of practices due to a groin injury. The All-Pro quarterback made it clear he’s “100 percent” healthy and ready for a Browns team hoping to get off to a fast start under new head coach Kevin Stefanski, and at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, no less. Jackson is 2-1 in his career against the Browns, accounting for the fact he threw only one pass in his first outing against them in 2017, making that loss attributable to Joe Flacco. With an eye-popping 19-2 record as a starter, Jackson’s potential is through the roof, and Ingram believes the NFL hasn’t seen anything yet.

For his money, Jackson was a winning lottery ticket for the Ravens with the 32nd-overall pick. 


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