Lamar Jackson admitted he was “horrible” last year.
The 2016 Heisman Trophy winner took over for an injured Joe Flacco in the middle of the Ravens’ 2018 season. It was Jackson’s rookie year, and he was quite effective despite a low completion percentage.
Jackson led Baltimore to its first AFC North title since 2014 and became the youngest quarterback, at 21 years old, to start an NFL playoff game. He finished 6-1 as a starter but relied more on carrying the ball than throwing. Jackson ranked 30th in completion rate at 58% and 31st in off-target percentage (23%).
Now, he says his arm has improved and he has a message for his doubters.
“You guys saw me last year. I was horrible. A lot of ducks,” Jackson told reporters Friday. “It’s been better. A lot of tight spirals.”
He added: “It motivates me a lot. Make them eat their words, that’s all.”
Jackson is starting to improve in all aspects, including sharp passes and running a crisp offense — something he struggled with last season when he needed coaches to repeat the plays causing the play clock to run down.
His progress and demeanor has impressed coach John Harbaugh.
“I look back at being 22 years old, and I could have only hoped to have Lamar Jackson’s poise and balance,” Harbaugh said. “He is who he is. He doesn’t get flustered. He doesn’t get fazed. It’s never too big for him. I’m kind of blown away by that part of him.”
Jackson has even added a few pounds of muscle, not fat, he clarifies.
“Trying to compete at a high level, put some more meat on my bones. I was hurt. I was skinny,” Jackson said. “Those guys are big out there. The league is totally different. Grown men trying to feed their families, 300-pounders coming at you, running 4.5.”