By Tony Massarotti, 98.5 The Sports Hub
Like most everyone else in the NFL, the Patriots could have had Lamar Jackson. They passed. But the real question today is altogether different.
Would they have known what to do with him?
Or, more specifically, would they have been willing to do it?
My answer: no.
ICYMI, Hurricane Lamar hit Los Angeles last night like a tornado on steroids. Jackson ran for 95 yards while passing for 169 yards and five touchdowns, making the Los Angeles Rams look like traffic cones en route to Baltimore’s 45-6 victory. Jackson now leads the NFL in everything and is the biggest thing in the NFL since Randall Cunningham, Michael Vick and Robert Griffin III wrapped into one.
Vick, after all, never shredded the NFL to the tune of a 111.4 passer rating, which currently places Jackson third in the league, just 1.3 points before highly respected Super Bowl champion Russell Wilson.
But again, back to the question: would Belichick have turned Jackson loose like this? Would anyone other than John Harbaugh, who has altered his entire operation to accommodate one singular talent? No way. At least not Belichick, whose entire philosophy is built on system and team … maybe to a fault. Before the 2018 draft, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels was strongly linked to Jackson, who was available when the Patriots selected at both Nos. 23 (Isaiah Wynn) and 31 (Sony Michael). Jackson went to the Ravens at No. 32 and the rest is now history.
With Jackson, the issues were obvious: could he become an efficient pocket passer? Was his style suited for the NFL? Harbaugh recognized this and, rather than fit Jackson into the league, he built his team and entire offense around Jackson. The obvious problem is that quarterbacks like Jackson are major injuries waiting to happen, which means that the Ravens are pinning their entire hopes on the health of one player – and one who feels like an unavoidable car wreck.
Even the Ravens know this, of course, which is why Jackson’s backup is none other than Griffin III, who was Jackson (sort of) before Jackson was. But let’s not kid ourselves. Nobody else in the league can do what Jackson is doing right now.
“You cannot emulate it – Lamar is the fastest guy on the field,” said Rams safety and former Raven Eric Weddle – after wiping Jackson’s tire marks from his face.
So let’s ask the question again:
Would Jackson have become this with Belichick as his coach?
Maybe you can convince me.
But I seriously doubt it.