Since entering the NFL, Lamar Jackson has defied all traditional quarterback norms.

.@Lj_era8 pressed all the buttons on this run (via@ NFL)

— Sunday Night Football (@SNFonNBC) November 10, 2019

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However, some are wondering if he should stick to tradition for the sake of longevity.

Jackson’s 2019 campaign, only his first full year as a starter, was one for the record books. He set the NFL record for most rushing yards in a season by a QB (1,206) and his 36 TD passes led the league.

Jackson’s performance earned him MVP honors at season’s end.

Lamar Jackson is just the second unanimous MVP ever. (Tom Brady, 2010)

— NFL (@NFL) February 1, 2020

However, all of those incredible rushing yards came with quite a few hits.

Jackson was contacted 205 times last season, setting an NFL record by eclipsing the 184 contacts that former Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton sustained in 2015, his MVP season.

Jackson’s 176 rushing attempts in 2019 were 23rd most in the NFL and the most by a quarterback in a single season in NFL history.

In short, he rushes a lot.

Lamar has better numbers than entire teams.


More rushing TD:CIN, DET, PIT, NYJ, JAX

More total yards:NYJ, WAS

More rushing yards:NYJ, MIA

More 1st downs:WAS

— B/R Gridiron (@brgridiron) December 17, 2019

With that, former NFL quarterback Tim Hasselbeck said this week that he’s concerned Jackson’s run-heavy style of football is not feasible long-term.

“It’s been my No. 1 concern with Lamar in terms of the sustainability of what the Ravens are doing that’s the key. The question coming in the last season was can you do this for an entire season. Well, they proved that you can do it for an entire season. But can they do it for three years? That ends up being the issue … For me it is a massive concern in terms of the sustainability of what they are doing.”

“Look at the toll it’s taken on {Cam Netwon’s] body. And he’s a bigger, stronger man than Lamar Jackson.”@tthasselbeck says the amount of hits Lamar Jackson takes is a “massive concern.”

— Get Up (@GetUpESPN) June 25, 2020

Hasselbeck pointed to Newton and Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson both of whom also employ an aggressive, run-heavy quarterbacking technique as examples.

“You take it a step further, and you look at somebody like Deshaun Watson, who two years ago in 2018 got hit 175 times that’s 30 times less [than Lamar], and he was getting driven to away games because he couldn’t fly because he had a collapsed lung. Okay? That’s what we are talking about.”

Watson capped off the 2018 regular season with a career-high 4,165 passing yards and 26 TDs, 551 rushing yards and 5 rushing TDs. But that year, he also faced the most dropbacks under pressure in the league (281) and was sacked a league-leading 62 times, tied for the fifth-most in a single season in NFL history.

Despite the damage he endured in 2018, the 6’2″, 220-pound Watson continued his aggressive QB style in 2019, helping the Texans to a 106 record and an AFC South title in the process, even though he was sacked 44 times in the regular season and a league-leading 11 times in the postseason

Watson also led the Texans to a 22-19 win over the Buffalo Bills in the AFC Wild Card Round, a game in which he was sacked 7 times.

Deshaun Watson evaded multiple Bills pass rushers to find Taiwan Jones for a 34-yard completion to set up the @HoustonTexans game-winning field goal.

The Bills sent 7 pass rushers for the 3rd time in the game.

Watson: 2/3, 75 yards vs 7-man rush#BUFvsHOU |

— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) January 5, 2020

The sack damage, so far, hasn’t stopped Watson from progressing through his young career as a dual-threat QB, but those concerned with Jackson’s style-of-play also use Newton as an example of a how a run-first quarterback isn’t made to survive in the NFL.

Newton, like Jackson and Watson, made a huge splash when he entered the league. He shattered NFL rookie records for passing yards (4,051) and rushing yards (706) by a quarterback. He also ran for 14 TDs as a rookie, an NFL record for a quarterback.

Rookie of the Year. MVP. NFC Champion.@CameronNewton. Carolina legend.

— NFL (@NFL) March 24, 2020

At 6’5″, 245 pounds, Newton was known for his power running style, which some think ultimately led to the injuries that have negatively affected his career into 2020.

The most rushing TDs ever by a rookie QB. @CameronNewton erupted on the scene in 2011

— NFL Throwback (@nflthrowback) May 12, 2019

Newton absorbed 184 hits in his historic MVP campaign in 2015, where he led the Panthers to a 151 record and a trip to Super Bowl 50.

He took another 180 hits in the 2017 season. Then, in 2018, the injuries started to pile up.

He missed the final two games of the 2018 season after undergoing shoulder surgery, and he then missed 14 games in 2019 with a fractured foot.

And now that he’s a free agent, Newton is struggling to find a fit, partially because teams are not able have Newton in-house for a physical evaluation.

Few teams are in need of a starting quarterback, and Newton who has been plagued by foot and shoulder injuries the past two seasons is currently unable to be examined by a doctor, due to the coronavirus.

Cam Newton’s free agency hopes cut further by coronavirus

— New York Post (@nypost) April 7, 2020

However, one aspect of the game that Jackson has enjoyed so far that Newton and Watson have not enjoyed is the protection of an elite offensive line.

Right guard Marshal Yanda was an 8-time Pro Bowler and 2-time First-Team All-Pro selection during his 13-year career before retiring at the end of last season. Alongside Yanda, left guard Bradley Bozeman, center Matt Skura and right tackle Orlando Brown Jr. dominated defenses in 2019, allowing the Ravens to have the league’s highest-scoring offense (33.2 points per game) and top rushing offense (3,296 yards).

.@Ravens have the #1 Offense in football with a bonafide MVP candidate in @Lj_era8. But he is getting a great deal of help from @megatronnie@BSBoze@Matt_Skura62#MarshalYanda and @ZEUS__78 . They make few mistakes and no Offensive Line in the @NFL is better

— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) November 19, 2019

Not to mention, the system is specifically designed to fit Jackson’s unorthodox style.

#Ravens OC Greg Roman about protecting Lamar Jackson: “Mobile quarterbacks are so much safer when they’re out in space ‘driving the car’ as opposed to standing in the pocket, hoping that nothing surprises them. Lamar does a really good job being safe.” #BALvsNYJ

— Andrea Kremer (@Andrea_Kremer) December 13, 2019

And so far, that system has worked.

Jackson had the fourth-lowest percentage of times sacked among all quarterbacks who started at least 15 games, and the 12th-lowest among the 58 quarterbacks who started at least once last season.

Ravens QB Lamar Jackson takes fewer hits than you’d think

— The Ravens Wire (@TheRavensWire) May 15, 2020

Yanda is gone, but Bozeman, Skura and Brown are all back and set to protect Jackson in 2020.

NFL teams will look to adjust to Jackson and the Ravens’ offensive approach this upcoming season.

But until then, Lamar keep doing you.

“Lamar Jackson should switch positions”

“Lamar Jackson can’t throw”

“Lamar Jackson is just the next Tim Tebow”

Lamar Jackson:

— The Undefeated (@TheUndefeated) November 10, 2019