Sunday, October 2, 2022

Michael Vick reacts to Ravens’ Lamar Jackson breaking his record

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It took 15 years for a quarterback to be dynamic enough to finally break one of Michael Vick’s most notable records. Luckily for the Baltimore Ravens, Lamar Jackson is such a dynamic quarterback.

Jackson set a new NFL mark during Baltimore’s 42-38 Week 2 loss to the Miami Dolphins eclipsed a record founded by former Atlanta Falcons, Philadelphia Eagles, New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers dual-threat sensation Vick.

The former record holder has reacted to Jackson’s performance and put the performance into context.

The key game in setting the record was Jackson’s 79-yard touchdown streak in the third quarter against the Dolphins. Breaking down the game for The 33rd Team, Vick said at the same time: “It’s amazing to see such a phenomenal player breaking records I set 15 years ago. He does it (now) when the defense is at its best.”

It’s easy to argue that last sentence about defense being best. Today’s rules favor offensive blasts more than at any time in League history.

What is more interesting about both Vick’s analysis and Jackson’s spectacular result is the nature of the piece. Vick described it as “designed all the way”.

He highlighted how left guard Kevin Zeitler “moves into the A gap (to) watch the Mike.” Zeitler moved while tight end Mark Andrews and fullback Patrick Ricard, playing as wing, sealed linebacker-level defenders.

The fact that the Ravens used a designed run for their franchise quarterback was revealing because of the risks involved. Designed QB runs and their effectiveness have become a topic for heated debate after San Francisco 49ers starter Trey Lance broke his ankle on a scheduled run against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 2.

It wasn’t long before 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan came under criticism for exposing his QB1s to more hits. Shanahan responded by citing the Buffalo Bills’ use of Josh Allen to defend his strategy with Lance.

Allen is a special talent that could be the exception to almost every rule of how quarterbacks are supposed to work. Jackson is the same, albeit for slightly different reasons.

While Allen is a 6ft 5in, 237lb battering ram who can overwhelm defenders between tackles and absorb the extra penalty, Jackson slices through defenses in a different way, a way Vick appreciates.

Jackson’s game on the ground is all about speed, which Vick summed up when he said, “Not too many teams can say they have a second runback on the field at 4.3 40, and Lamar is exactly that .”

Vick called what Jackson was doing a “rare talent for a quarterback,” and the former should know. When Vick entered the league as the first overall winner in 2001, the defenses weren’t quite ready for Vick’s speed on the track and his natural heaviness.

His versatile talents propelled the Falcons into the playoffs in his sophomore season, but it wasn’t until Jim Mora replaced Dan Reeves as head coach and brought in Greg Knapp and zone-blocking guru Alex Gibbs that Vick’s rushing ability reached a new level.

He ran for 902 yards in 2004 and helped the Falcons reach the NFC Championship Game. Two years later, Vick became the first quarterback in league history to run for more than 1,000 yards.

Jackson joined him after an even better rush during his 2019 MVP campaign. Again, designed barrels were a big part of his success, per PFF:

According to Vick, Jackson also had company when the Ravens’ signal caller pulled off another rare feat a year later NFL Research:

Jackson and Vick are so often linked because of the way they play. It helps the Ravens be smart enough to keep Jackson going despite the risk of injury.

The risk is apparent in game logs, which show Jackson hasn’t completed a full season since turning pro in 2018. However, that same risk is mitigated by how effectively the Ravens’ offense works when Jackson is on the go.

As Vick put it, Jackson has a “rare talent,” and the Ravens wisely refuse to let it go to waste.

Jackson joined him after an even better rush during his 2019 MVP campaign. Again, designed barrels were a big part of his success, per PFF:

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