Nobody in the National Football League is built to run the Baltimore Ravens offense like Lamar Jackson. In a perfect world, they commit to the run and humiliate teams with play action bombs. A loaded backfield, a capable offensive line, an elite tight end, great blockers, and speedy receivers were hand-picked to complement Lamar Jackson’s game. His ability, both as a runner and a passer, create mismatches and confusion on defense. The Baltimore Ravens, for now until he leaves the team, will only go as far as he takes them.
With that said, here’s why I think the Baltimore Ravens should rest their star quarterback against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Baltimore Ravens Should Rest Lamar Jackson
Lamar Jackson’s most unique talent is also his biggest weakness. By the very scrambling nature that makes him such a dynamic player, Jackson takes on more physical punishment than the average quarterback. Sure, he finds the endzone from time to time, and there are occasions where he gets out of bounds or slides, but of the 66 rushing attempts (as well as 25 QB hits and 14 sacks) Lamar has taken this season, he’s been hit on most of them.
In the NFL, injuries are inevitable for everyone, but especially those who take consistent punishment. Someone like Tom Brady, who has avoided big hits for most of his career, has enjoyed a much longer run than most running backs or even running quarterbacks. Lamar, for his part, has already missed seven games due to injuries in his career, with a nagging hip already bothering him in 2022.
To go from a game on Sunday afternoon against the Browns where his hip was clearly bothering him, where he underachieved both under center and on the run, to playing a physical and athletic Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense four days later? Would be a mistake.
Thursday Nightmare Football
The NFL has muddied the water in regards to whether or not Thursday Night Football is bad for it’s athletes. A fluky study based on percentages says there’s no indication that players are injured more with less rest, but that simply can’t be true. The incredible toll a NFL game takes on a human being’s body requires rest to recover from, and four days, at least three of which will be spent traveling and practicing, is not enough.
Lamar limped out of Baltimore’s clash with Cleveland, and now he’s supposed to, on limited rest, perform against Devin Bush, Lavonte David, and Vita Vea?
November Can Wait
The rest of the AFC North can wait. The Cleveland Browns aren’t going to be .500 when Deshaun Watson makes his debut and the Pittsburgh Steelers are clueless on offense. The Cincinnati Bengals look good, and seem to have figured things out, but the Ravens already have a head-to-head win over them.
To be their best, Baltimore needs Lamar to be his best. In September, when he was an early MVP candidate, they lost one game, a shootout against Miami where he threw for over 300 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for over 100 yards and other score. They went 2-2 in October, mainly because of Lamar’s struggles (only scoring three touchdowns to five turnovers). If Lamar is banged up, or worse, too injured to play, the Ravens will struggle.
On a short week, against a team that is a match-up nightmare defensively, the Ravens should let Lamar heal up and send out their capable backup. The NFL is a better place with a happy and healthy Lamar Jackson, and by playing him against such a fierce opponent on little rest, the Baltimore Ravens could be endangering that.