Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson had an impressive second season in the NFL: the former first-round draft pick was the motor that powered the league’s most potent offense — one that broke the rushing record set by the 1978 New England Patriots — and finished with 3,127 yards, 36 touchdowns and six interceptions, as well as a quarterback-record 1,206 rushing yards as well as seven additional scores on the ground.
Jackson was outstanding operating the Ravens’ offense, and will likely be named the league’s most valuable player at the NFL Honors ceremony next week. That being said, the 23-year-old still thinks that he has room for improvement especially when it comes to the mental aspect of the game. And in that area, he is trying to follow the greatest quarterback to ever set foot on the gridiron: the Patriots’ six-time world champion Tom Brady.
“I’m trying to get deeper into the playbook, I’m trying to be on my Brady and Drew Brees stuff. I’m trying to make my mind grow a lot to help me out during the game,” Jackson told NFL Network’s Omar Ruiz at the Pro Bowl — a continuation of what he told the Ravens’ website earlier. “There’s always room for improvement. I’m not the best. I’m not the greatest. I’m going into my third year and I’m trying to get somewhere.”
What does Jackson, arguably one of the best athletes the NFL currently has to offer, mean when he says that he is trying to work on his “Brady and Brees stuff” heading into next season? Both the Patriots’ passer and the New Orleans Saints’ are among the best in the game when it comes to pre-snap reads and decision making both before and after a play begins: despite his outstanding skillset, he is not on the same level yet.
Brady, on the other hand, is still as good a field general as any in the league. While his statistics went down in 2019 compared to 2018 and his historic three-year stretch before that, his ability to read defenses and make correct decisions was on display throughout the year. Was Brady perfect? No, but he still showed that the he was on top of the mental part of the game even though his supporting cast consistently made life difficult for him.