Tuesday, September 27, 2022

John Harbaugh comfortable with Lamar Jackson’s weight gain: ‘It hasn’t slowed him down at all’

Lamar Jackson is still searching for that lucrative contract extension, doing everything he can to become an even better quarterback than what he’s displayed over the first four years of his career. With no extension yet, Jackson isn’t stopping his work ethic.

Jackson bulked up to 230 pounds this offseason, gaining 25 pounds of muscle which has been showing on his throws throughout camp. While Jackson is improving the velocity, he still has the mobility that has made him the most dangerous player in the league. 

“I like him. I like the way he looks,” Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said Saturday. “I like what he’s done with himself. And yes, it hasn’t slowed him down at all.”

Jackson is the fastest quarterback in league history to reach 5,000 passing yards and 2,000 rushing yards (35 games), and his 10 100-yard rushing games are tied with Michael Vick for the most in league history. He also is the only quarterback to rush for 1,000 yards in a season twice. His five games with 200 passing yards and 100 rushing yards are the most in league history, showcasing the dual threat that has made Jackson the most dangerous player in the NFL

Jackson is back at the weight Harbaugh wants him to be at, a few pounds heavier than the 215 to 219 pounds Jackson was when he won league MVP honors. 

“I think he’s back more in that direction a little bit,” Harbaugh said. “With the COVID and all the different crazy things that happened the last two years, he probably ended up slimming down – he just did – for whatever reason.”

With the increased weight on Jackson’s frame, that will also help Jackson avoid serious injury when he takes off for a big gain. Jackson’s running ability is always going to be a part of his game, as his 615 carries over the last four years are the most for a quarterback in the NFL.

“In all honesty, I feel like Lamar has always been really good about avoiding getting hit hard,” Harbaugh said. “The only time he really gets hit is if he doesn’t see it, and that’s pretty rare, too. I know we see that. … And you’re going to be concerned about that with any quarterback – quarterbacks can get hit in the pocket – but he’s got a knack. 

“He’s done it his whole life; I think he’s just good at it, and he doesn’t really get hit that much and that hard. Now, of course, it’s football, and I think he’s going to have to manage and play the long game that way, certainly, but he’s done a good job of that thus far, and I kind of trust him with that.”

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