The Kansas City Chiefs have a big Sunday Night Football matchup this weekend against one of the NFL’s most dynamic players. The defending AFC champions head East to face Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens.
Jackson, the 2019 league MVP, has improved as a passer throughout his time in the NFL. However, the thing that sets him apart is his rare ability as a runner.
There are few players in the league, regardless of position, with Jackson’s speed. That makes it very hard for teams to prep for him in practice with their existing rosters and practice squad guys.
Chiefs defensive back Juan Thornhill was asked about how to scout a Jackson-led offense. Quite frankly, he says, it isn’t that important how well a scout team QB can throw. They need to find someone who can simulate Jackson’s speed more than anyone else.
Juan Thornhill when asked who is scout QB playing the role of Lamar Jackson: "We don't really care about you throwing the football .. just run as fast as you can." #Chiefs
— Harold R. Kuntz (@HaroldRKuntz3) September 17, 2021
On paper, that sounds like a knock of Jackson’s passing ability. Harold R. Kuntz of FOX 4 News in Kansas City assures everyone that it wasn’t, and Thornhill was pointing out how much everyone has to respect Jackson’s ability to make plays on the ground. “It was meant as a compliment that Jackson’s skill set is very hard to emulate in a practice setting,” he tweeted as a follow up.
Lamar Jackson and the Ravens fell in a wild Week 1 game to the Las Vegas Raiders, 33-27 in overtime. Jackson was 19-for-30 for 235 yards and a touchdown, and managed 86 yards on 12 carries.
The Chiefs have had success against him though. In three games, dating back to Jackson’s rookie year, when he took over the job at midseason, the Ravens are 0-3 against Kansas City, suffered three, five, and 14-point losses. He has 196 yards on 31 carries in those games, finding the end zone once, but they’ve been him fairly one dimensional. He had 511 passes yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions in those games, averaging less than 5.4 yards per attempt.