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Lamar Jackson’s elusiveness is an elite trait, especially in today’s NFL. As long as he continues to develop his pocket passing, the sky is the limit for the Baltimore Ravens’ rookie quarterback. It’s why he was the video focus on this holiday week’s edition of Things I Enjoyed.
1. Lamar Jackson’s juice
It’s unclear if Jackson is going to start Sunday against the Oakland Raiders as Joe Flacco is recovering from a hip injury. If Jackson is indeed the starter, expect him to hang more in the pocket, he said.
“The game plan that’s coming up, we’re going to be throwing the ball,” Jackson told reporters this week. “You’ll see.”
In the video above, you can find highlights (shout-out to my video producer Brian Caruso) of his first NFL start. Sure, there were mistakes, but his athleticism opens up the Ravens’ ability to be creative in their play-calling.
2. The aerial circus of Chiefs-Rams
I was fortunate enough to cover Chiefs-Rams on Monday, also known as The Greatest “Monday Night Football” Game in NFL History. This game was so exciting, so high-scoring, that it singlehandedly helped me realize that this is The New NFL, an era where great offenses are completely unstoppable.
The rule changes haven’t helped defenses, and it’s true that defenders cannot punish quarterbacks the same way they used to. We’ll never again see a game as brutal as the 2009 season’s NFC championship game, when the Saints mauled Brett Favre as a means of keeping an offense under wraps.
The reasons for this being the NFL’s golden era of offense starts with schemes. Offenses are, from a creative standpoint, far ahead of the defenses in innovation. It’s time for someone, anyone — paging Bill Belichick — to come up with the new version of the Tampa 2 or Buddy Ryan’s “46” defense.
Until that happens, we’ll continue to see good/elite play-callers, who are paired with good/elite quarterbacks, light up defenses like the Arena League.
The Chiefs and Rams combined for over 1,000 yards of offense on Monday, 827 of which were passing. Watching Chiefs coach Andy Reid and Rams coach Sean McVay dial up a bunch of vertical passing concepts with impunity — which requires solid offensive lines, capable quarterbacks, stud playmakers and plenty of chutzpah — was the highlight of my year.
3. Jalen vs. AB
Let’s call the showdown between Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Antonio Brown and Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey the closest thing in the NFL we’ll ever see to that awesomely awful ’80s move “Best of the Best.”
4. Kevin Harlan losing it over the Ravens’ Browns
CBS announcer Kevin Harlan is an absolute treasure. Listen to how excited he gets over the blocking of Ravens receiver John Brown and tackle Orlando Brown on two touchdown runs from their win over the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday:
5. Saquon’s ‘juice’ hop
The reigning NFC Offensive Player of the Week has no shortage of swag. During New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley’s big performance against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday — one in which he rushed for 142 yards and scored three touchdowns — he even sprinkled in flair via an unnecessary hop on a 13-yard run that he basically pulled right out of Walter Payton’s playbook.
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