Lamar Jackson Missing Practices and Still Performing in the NFL
While the old adage is that practice makes perfect, that particular statement does not necessarily appear to translate in the same way for Lamar Jackson.
The Baltimore Ravens quarterback is known to miss practices throughout the season – with good reason – but when it comes down to the real thing on matchday, he is still ready to go and plays as if he has been on the practice field all week.
However, his latest setback may have cost him and his team, although he has been able to show that he can consistently perform when on the gridiron.
Jackson missed practice ahead of the Jacksonville Jaguars’ loss in Week 12
According to reports that had emerged ahead of the Week 12 encounter with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Jackson had to miss his first practice of the season as he was simply too ill to compete. ESPN had stated that he had also been limited in practice in two sessions earlier in the year; Week 3 with a right elbow injury and in Week 7 with a hip problem.
Nonetheless, given his track record of being ill while in Maryland (he has now missed six practices because of sickness since the start of the 2021 season), there was no repeat of the game against the Chicago Bears in Week 11 of last year when Tyler Huntley led the team to a 16-13 victory in his absence.
Jackson managed to suit up and play the game against the Jaguars. However, it could be argued that he was not ready for the game as the Florida-based franchise managed to record a 28-27 victory after scoring 18 points in the final quarter having been 12-10 down by the end of the third.
The QB managed to throw for 254 yards and one touchdown, with 16 of his 32 pass attempts being completed successfully, however it was a familiar story for the organization regarding the defeat column, as they lost another game in close fashion.
Each of the four defeats in the team’s 7-4 record so far this season have been virtue of four points or fewer, while the team has also had leads of at least nine points in each of those games before giving up the win. That is something that can not be laid at Jackson, as his offense is clearly doing the required job, whereas the defense appears to be stumbling when it matters most.
Of course, there have been instances where the QB has given up the ball via interceptions that have been thrown, but, for the most part, he is still able to perform. His latest illness does not appear to have set him back too far, but having him 100% healthy will be the only way the team’s fans and John Harbaugh will want him moving forward.
What’s next for Jackson and the Ravens?
While the defeat to the Jaguars will have hurt, especially given how close the defeat was and the circumstances in which it happened, many will be wondering what is next for the Ravens as they continue in their quest to return to the postseason.
Indeed, fans around Maryland will have likely been placing bets on the action in recent weeks now that they are able to do so legally, as they will want to cheer their team on and see the Vince Lombardi Trophy return to the M&T Bank Stadium.
However, with the latest Ravens’ odds at Maryland Sportsbooks, there may be some fans that may be questioning whether this is something that is realistic, given that the team has somehow blown a minimum nine-point lead in each of the four defeats that they have already had this season.
Nonetheless, Jackson and the offense have managed to get seven wins thus far on the board, with the offense being rather cohesive and operating efficiently. This is something that may still pique the interest of those in Maryland that want to place bets, as may the games that are still left to play…
Most of the Ravens’ fans will want to see Jackson starting for them in each of the final six regular season games left to be played, especially given the strength of the sports schedule that still faces them throughout December and the beginning of January.
The team still needs to play each of their AFC North divisional rivals on at least one occasion, with road games against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Cleveland Browns, and the Cincinnati Bengals; the final game of the season. They will need to play the Steelers twice, as they have yet to play their home game against them, with that fixture scheduled to take place on New Year’s Day.
Additionally, they will need to face the Denver Broncos in Week 13 (next) at home, while a game against the Atlanta Falcons at home on Christmas Eve completes the schedule for Harbaugh’s team. With the Broncos 3-8 and the Falcons 5-7, there will be some confidence that if a healthy and fit Jackson is playing, the team will be able to record wins in those games.
However, the divisional games will create the most tension, despite the fact that the Ravens occupy the top spot. They are level with the Bengals at the moment on 7-4, whereas the other two teams are currently 4-7. With a run of bad form, or perhaps the inability to close out games like they have shown in the four defeats recorded thus far, the end of the regular season could potentially end up being rather tense and nailbiting for everyone in Maryland this winter.
There is no denying how important Jackson is to the franchise, and many will be hoping he is able to participate in each of the practice sessions that are left between now and the end of the season. There is no doubt he can still perform, but who knows, if he was able to practice last week, perhaps the Ravens would be 8-3 and not have experienced another soul-crushing defeat in their game against the Jaguars.