While other NFL quarterbacks don’t work much in RPOs, Jackson does it all the time, the Colts say.

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As the quarterback goes, so does the offense. That is a fact in the NFL. Regarding the step.

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The same applies to the Baltimore Ravens, but in regards to their acclaimed running game. too. Everything in his offense flows through Lamar Jackson, the 2019 NFL MVP.

That’s what the Indianapolis Colts were saying last week, before their Monday night football game in Baltimore (8:15 pm EDT, TSN via ESPN).

“(Jackson’s) ability to run the ball as part of his running game is unique,” said Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus. “Everybody executes the (pass-run options), but there’s no threat that the quarterback will actually do it and hold it, usually, until the last quarter, red zone, third down, when it counts.

“This is all he has. That’s definitely unique, and you have to have your responsibilities down, as defensive end, outside linebacker, safety, whoever is involved in that kind of edge play … We have to make sure we’re detailed about it. “

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Jackson’s defensive tackle DeForest Buckner added: “They built the whole running game around him. Whether you keep it or release it, or whatever, most racing is practically an option. That makes a lot of defenses a bit hesitant in their running attacks and little things like that. You never know when he’s going to get it out. “

And because Jackson is so fast and elusive, out in the open field he instantly becomes the most dangerous running back in the NFL who isn’t named Derrick Henry. The statistics confirm it. Jackson averaged 6.9 yards per rush in 2019, 6.3 last season and 6.6 so far in 2021.

So none of this is new. However, what is new since 2019 is the surrounding cast of Jackson. He’s playing behind a mostly different offensive line and is transferring, because of all those preseason injuries, to a completely different team of running backs in 2021.

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Latavius ​​Murray is listed as the starting running back, supported by Devonta Freeman and Ty’Son Williams, with Le’Veon Bell available outside of the practice team.

What’s so frustrating for defensive coordinators and their players is that if you choose to use most of your energies to limit the Ravens’ run, as happened last week in Denver, Jackson could tear you apart in the air; He was 22 of 37 for 316 yards.

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“Lamar Jackson’s passing skills are underrated,” Colts head coach Frank Reich said.

What’s more, even if you can finish off Baltimore’s offense by halftime, Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman could make the right adjustments to punish you anyway, as happened last year in Baltimore’s win at Indy. .

Baltimore is 3-1, Indy 1-3.

[email protected]

@JohnKryk

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