How The Rams Should Contain Lamar Jackson
Lamar Jackson has quickly become one of the league’s most feared offensive weapons. In most games he looks unstoppable. The best defensive minds have given it their best shot and most have fallen short. This week, it’s Wade Philips and the Rams turn to try to contain Jackson.
Jalen Ramsey even reached out to Michael Vick on Instagram for advice on how to contain the 32nd pick of 2018 draft. He tweeted, “Soo uhh @mikevick how would you stop someone like.. well kinda like yourself but the 2019 version?? 😂😂 I need tips for the game.”
To which Vick replied in the comments: “Tough question bruh… see the reality is this… Lamar is Mike Vick 2019, but with an offense built around his skill, which makes it hard to say. I wouldn’t know what to do against a guy kinda like myself. 😂 #giveiteverytingyougot”
It is important to remember how Michael Vick was taken down, his participation in a criminal dog fighting ring. Perhaps the Rams should try to frame Jackson as the mastermind of a criminal enterprise. Consider this option to stop Jackson: Jackson has gathered together 11 of the best professional criminals to simultaneously rob three Las Vegas casinos because the owner of the casinos is dating Jackson’s ex wife. Jackson is arrested before anyone realizes that it was the plot to Ocean’s 11 all along. Unfortunately, it’s a bit of a moot point as the Rams would need a bit more time to pull this sort of plan off. Perhaps if they had a bye last week.
It’s also important to point out that Jackson is on track to be better than Michel Vick. In 2006 Vick set the single-season rushing record for a QB 1,034 yards. Jackson is on pace to rush for over 1200 yards. In Vick’s best season in passing, he threw for 2936 in 2002 and 20 touchdowns in 2006. This season Jackson is projected to throw for over 3500 yards and 30 touchdowns.
Since becoming a starter in Baltimore, Lamar Jackson has gone 14-4 including a loss in the playoffs. So, the film on how to effectively contain him is limited, but there are ways to contain Lamar Jackson. Looking at his two losses and a close game with Pittsburgh there are two ways (aside from framing an innocent man) to effectively contain Jackson.
It seems counter-intuitive because he can make you pay, but the teams that have gotten sacks and QB hits have been more successful at containing the young quarterback. In the two losses and the three-point win against the Steelers, Lamar was sacked 12 times and pressured 28 times. As opposed to the three most recent wins, 2 sacks and pressured 13 times.
It will be tempting for the Rams to put a spy on Jackson to prevent him from getting big plays but, just like every other QB, Jackson plays worse under pressure. The teams that give his speed too much respect are the ones getting beat. The Rams should turn Aaron Donald loose and when the Ravens double him, make them pay with safety and cornerback blitzes.
The Rams have also been dominant against the run over the last four weeks. Another way to keep the pressure on Jackson is to contain the running game. Stuffing Mark Ingram and keeping Lamar’s yards per carry under 5.0 will spell success for the Rams’ defense.
Jackson hasn’t turned the ball over much this season. 5 interceptions and 4 fumbles.
All five interceptions came in two games, two in the blowout loss against Cleveland and three against the Steelers. It is no coincidence that the two games that he was pressured the most, he also turned the ball over. If Jalen Ramsey is looking for a way to contain Lamar Jackson, getting aggressive with Hollywood Brown will be the way. None of the Ravens receivers are exactly dominant. Their leading receiver is tight end Mark Andrews, who is ranked 30th among receivers. If the Rams secondary and linebackers can push them around, they can get Lamar to make bad throws and force interceptions.