Coming into the league, pundits and analysts questioned his ability to move the chains purely as a passer. If he were to get injured, or, more simply, if a defense was able to shut down his running game, how would he respond?
Through five seasons, Jackson hasn’t just addressed those concerns but has actually established himself as one of the best pocket passers in the league. Even with his explosive scrambling ability, he’s shown that he’s more than comfortable picking defenses apart within the hashes if given the opportunity.
While Jackson has exceeded all expectations already, including securing the illustrious MVP award in his 2019 campaign and securing two Pro Bowl nods, Lamar hasn’t had the linear growth that many had hoped coming off a historic second season as a professional quarterback.
Three seasons later, he’s yet to top the passing touchdowns, yardage, interception percentage, or quarterback rating that he put up in 2019. It can be argued that last season was perhaps his worst as a passer since his rookie year.
Lamar Jackson’s 2022 passing stats
In 2022, he put up the lowest passing yards since his freshman season, with just 2242, 600 less than his 2021 total despite playing in the same amount of games.
Some of Lamar Jackson’s 2022 highlights. The Baltimore #Ravens QB is free to negotiate a new contract with any #NFL team, as he is under a non-exclusive tag. Due to his asking price, there isn’t a team that makes sense in this market. He could end up back with the Ravens 👀🏈 pic.twitter.com/lOwZaLLJqH
— Win Big Sports (@WBSNsports) March 19, 2023
Jackson did take some steps forward statistically compared to 2021. He significantly lowered his amount of sacks taken from 38 to 26, although some would argue that the gunslinger looked less confident in the pocket and was quicker to give up on plays.
But last season, he also put up his lowest interception percentage since his MVP year and improved his QB rating, going from 50.7 in 2021 to 59.1 in 2022. A deeper dive into the stats, though, show that Jackson did stumble in his development as a passer last year.
For example, Jackson was much less effective as a passer in terms of yardage, going from 240.2 passing yards per game in 2021 to just 186.8 last season.
His hesitation to hang in the pocket and try to connect on long bombs also showed in the stats sheet, as his intended air yards also took a hit from 2021 to 2022, dropping from 9.3 to 8.3 – the lowest of his career to date, including his rookie season.
Not only did he attempt less courageous passes, but he also connected on them far less in 2022. His completed air yards went from 1734 to just 1271, the lowest since his rookie campaign.
Does this show that Lamar Jackson could be regressing? Has he taken too many hits behind the line of scrimmage? Will he ever regain his confidence as a passer?
New weapons coming for Lamar Jackson in 2023
To be fair to Jackson, a big reason why last season may have been his worst as a passer was perhaps the fact that last season was also the year he was surrounded by the least amount of weapons.
His leading receiver in yards in 2022 was Mark Andrews with just 847, with Demarcus Robinson and Devin Duvernay tailing him with less than 500 each.
Compare that to 2019 when the Baltimore Ravens had seven different receivers topping 240 yards and five exceeding 300, including a fearsome tight end trio of Andrews, Hayden Hurst, and Nick Boyle and a sneaky good receiving duo featuring Marquise Brown and Willie Snead.
While the Ravens didn’t do much to upgrade Jackson’s protection, more will be known of his ability as a passer next season with a revamped receiving corps featuring rookie Zay Flowers, Odell Beckham Jr., and Nelson Agholor and a more creative offensive mind drawing up plays in new Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken.
For more Baltimore Ravens & Maryland sports betting coverage, stay with MD Betting.