Mark Ingram has always been one of Lamar Jackson’s biggest, and loudest, supporters.
It started last season when Ingram drew national attention for his comments about Jackson’s MVP candidacy by saying, "Come see me" to anyone who didn’t agree with Jackson being the league MVP.
Of course, Jackson won the league’s MVP award unanimously as the Ravens raced to the league’s best record at 14-2.
Jackson is now entering his third season in the league, his second full year as a starter, and expectations in Baltimore are sky high. And Ingram thinks there’s room to improve.
"He's the man," Ingram said. "He handles the outside noise and adversity great. The outside noise and the outside critics or the outside people that try to do anything, he doesn't pay attention to it. He stays focused on the task at hand. He’s focused on trying to be the best quarterback he can be, the best player he can be, the best leader he can be. I feel like he’s lightyears ahead, right now, of where he was at last year.”
A year ago, Jackson rushed for a quarterback record 1,206 yards on the ground and threw for a league-high 36 touchdown passes. He did all that in just 15 games, not including the games he was pulled from late with the Ravens ahead by so many points.
Ingram was a beneficiary of Jackson’s success, as he ran for 1,1018 yards and 10 touchdowns in his first year as a Raven. He added 26 receptions and 247 yards receiving with five touchdowns as well.
“He's going to continue to improve,” Ingram said. “He's going to continue to get better. He's going to continue to be more confident in his abilities within the offense, knowing the offense, knowing the ins and outs, the adjustments within the offense. He’s just continuing to grow.”
The Ravens’ offense averaged 33.2 points per game last season, the best mark in the NFL. With a rushing attack that ran for more yards than anyone ever had before, the team scored 30 or more points eight times during the regular season a year ago.
Before the first game of 2019, Jackson faced criticism and doubts about his abilities as a starter in the NFL. In Week 1, he and the Ravens hung 59 points on the Dolphins.
This year, in a top-heavy AFC, the only doubts about Jackson are whether or not the Super Bowl and another MVP award are in reach.
“It’s special being able to see it because I feel like he’s a million times ahead of where he was at this point last year,” Ingram said. “We’re looking forward to it. He’s just a good dude, great player and someone in this organization loves very much because of who he is and what he stands for.”