How a John Harbaugh Decision Aided Lamar Jackson’s Ascent

A brutal playoff loss laid the groundwork for Jackson to explode this year

 How a John Harbaugh Decision Aided Lamar Jackson's Ascent
Head coach John Harbaugh interacts with Lamar Jackson of the Ravens. (Dan Kubus/Getty)
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By Evan Bleier / November 20, 2019 10:55 am

During Baltimore’s loss to the Los Angeles Chargers in the opening round of the NFL playoffs last season, Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson was far from good.

A rookie at the time, Jackson completed 14-of-29 passes for 194 yards and two touchdowns, but he also committed three turnovers, including a fumble that lost the game.

Throughout the game, Jackson struggled to complete passes, and his rushing ability, which has been on full display this season, was largely contained (nine rushes for just 54 yards).

With Jackson struggling mightily, many fans and NFL pundits called on Baltimore coach John Harbaugh to remove him from the game and insert former Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco at quarterback.

Harbaugh didn’t do it, and the Ravens lost the game, but that decision appears to be paying off tenfold this season as Baltimore is 8-2 and a confident Jackson is playing like an MVP.

The move also may end up having a greater significance down the road and be “a seminal moment in the black athlete’s journey beyond vile stereotypes and toward full acceptance at the sport’s premier leadership position,” according to ESPN.

When informed of that opinion, Harbaugh responded: “That’s great. It will be good to be remembered for something, especially something good like that. If that turns out to be the case, I’ll be very proud of that.”

However, this season is Harbaugh’s pressing concern and the faith he showed in Jackson last season has gone a long way in dictating how well it’s been going.

“There’s a trust there because he knows we believed in him when not too many other people did,” Harbaugh said. “We didn’t go halfway with him. We didn’t dip our toe.”

It’s certainly paying off.

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