OWINGS MILLS, Md. (WHTM) — Lamar Jackson is one of the most criticized quarterbacks in the National Football League, but is the negativity warranted? Jackson’s teammates and head coach adamantly say “no.”
On Day 1 of the 2022 Ravens Training Camp conversation swirled around the fifth-year quarterback in the middle of a contract negotiation getting peppered by criticism.
“He’s used to [the criticism],” said Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh. “I mean he’s been hearing the same thing probably since he was in junior high. I know he heard it in college; I know he heard it through the [NFL] Draft. I know he hears some of the same people saying the same things they said in the Draft. That keeps coming up.”
Jackson, a first round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, originally signed a four-year contract worth $7.575 million guaranteed. In 2022, Jackson will make about $23 million on his fifth-year option of his rookie deal.
But it’s more than a contract hold up for Jackson, who was recently criticized by an anonymous NFL Defensive Coordinator in The Athletic’s annual quarterback tiers.
“If he has to pass to win the game, they ain’t winning the game,” the anonymous source said to The Athletic. “He’s so unique as an athlete and he’s really a good football player, but I don’t (care) if he wins the league MVP 12 times, I don’t think he’ll ever be a 1 as a quarterback.”
Harbaugh had strong words for that defensive coordinator.
“I don’t know who this guy named anonymous is, I haven’t met him yet,” Harbaugh said. “So I don’t even know why we report on what he has to say.
“It is what it is,” Harbaugh continued. “It’s just bologna. It’s just nothing. It’s a big nothing burger.”
On Day 1 of Training Camp, Jackson’s teammates came to his defense.
CB Marlon Humphrey said athletes are often looked at harshly for publicly responding to criticism, but said you got to do what you got to do.
Guard Keith Zeitler spoke glowingly about Jackson and his ability to win games. He asked of the criticism by the anonymous DC “has anyone actually stopped [Lamar Jackson]?”
WR Rashod Bateman said the team doesn’t care what other people are saying about Jackson.
“We’re just excited our number one quarterback is out here,” Bateman said.
The Ravens continue Training Camp throughout the week before the team’s first preseason game against the Titans on August 11.