Joe Burrow and Lamar Jackson will meet each other for the first time this Sunday, when Burrow and the Bengals face Jackson’s Ravens in Baltimore. While they have yet to form a personal relationship, the two quarterbacks are very familiar with each other, something that became clear when both quarterbacks were asked about the other earlier this week. 

The No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft, Burrow, who won his first NFL game last week while becoming the first rookie in league history to post three consecutive 300-yard passing performances, spoke glowingly of Jackson, the league’s reigning MVP. 

“I’m excited to compete against him,” Burrow said of Jackson, whose play this season has helped the Ravens get off to a 3-1 start. “Obviously, he’s one of the best players in the league right now going back the last two, three years. He’s unbelievable, he’s fun to watch. 

“When you watch teams that play him, I catch myself watching Lamar instead of watching the defense that I’m studying and I have to go back and re-watch the game because I’m like, ‘Shoot, I just watched Lamar the whole time. I didn’t get anything from that hour of tape.’ He’s an unbelievable player. I’m excited to compete against him.” 


Lamar Jackson

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Jackson, who rushed for an NFL quarterback record 1,206 yards in 2019, is on pace to rush for 940 yards in 2020.


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Jackson, who last season broke Michael Vick’s record for the most rushing yards in a season for a quarterback, has taken notice of Burrow’s early success in the NFL. That being said, Jackson’s praise of Burrow only goes so far. 

“I like his game,” Jackson said of Burrow. “I see he’s broken records for passing yards in consecutive weeks. That’s pretty dope. But I don’t wish him success against us. I do want to win this game.” 

Jackson, who started his rookie season as a backup to Joe Flacco, received his first NFL start against the Bengals, leading Baltimore to a 24-21 win in Week 10 of the 2018 season. Baltimore, who lost eight of their previous 10 games against the Bengals, is 3-0 against its AFC North rival with Jackson under center. In two games against the Bengals last season, Jackson scored five touchdowns while amassing 676 all-purpose yards. During Baltimore’s Week 6 win in Cincinnati, Jackson torched the Bengals’ defense on a 47-yard touchdown run that remains one of the quarterback’s most memorable highlights during his three-year NFL career. 

While both players are enjoying success at the highest level of football, there was a time when Jackson and Burrow were not being touted as future stars. In fact, both quarterbacks failed to make it past the regional round of their respective Elite 11 camps in 2014, something that was brought up to Burrow this week. 

“That was something that fueled me early in my career,” said Burrow, who spent three seasons as a backup quarterback at Ohio State before flourishing at LSU. “It’s not about the talent that you have or amount of stars you have or anything like that. It’s about the work you put in. I’m not the most talented guy in the world, but I put in a lot of work to be prepared for game day, and I pride myself on my play and my execution of the offense.

“I’ve played with a lot of guys that can throw the ball 75 or 80 yards that aren’t where I’m at now, or where Lamar’s at now. There’s a lot of different things that go into playing quarterback.”


Joe Burrow

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Burrow completed 70% of his passes during the Bengals’ previous two games.


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Both players are hoping to make strides in their respective passing games in the coming weeks. Jackson is hoping to connect on more deep passes, specifically as it relates to getting the ball to second year receiver Marquise Brown. Jackson is also hoping to adjust to what he’s seeing from defenses in 2020. 

“I would say they’re trying to run straight to he line of scrimmage before I can get past our line or get past the middle or the outside linebackers,” Jackson said about the different things defenses are trying against him this season. “They’re just running downhill pretty good, that’s all, but we’re going to find a way to fix it. It’s still pretty early in the season.”

Burrow, when asked about the Bengals’ lack of deep vertical passing success through four weeks, said that, based on the fact that defenses are primarily playing zone against him, he is more than happy taking advantage of the success he and his teammates have had on intermediate routes. Burrow, who said that he is looking forward to facing former LSU teammate and current Ravens rookie linebacker Patrick Queen on Sunday, expects the Ravens to apply pressure early and often. 

“A lot of blitzing. A lot of blitzing and a lot of man [coverage],” Burrow said when asked to evaluate the Ravens’ defense. “And I anticipate a little more than usual since I’m a rookie quarterback, and they’re going to see how I can handle it.”

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