As Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco deals with a hip injury, rookie backup Lamar Jackson has a chance to start the first NFL game of his career against the Cincinnati Bengals Nov. 18, and former star NFL quarterback Michael Vick believes Jackson has a chance to take the league by storm.
Since Jackson broke on to the national stage as a dynamic quarterback for Louisville just a few years ago, Vick has become a mentor and example for the 2016 Heisman winner.
"[Lamar and I have] talked on several occasions, and my line of communication is always open if he wants to call and talk about anything," Vick said on
Glenn Clark Radio
Nov. 15. "The exciting part is knowing that he's about to get that opportunity. … We used to speak about the next level, and here it is."
With Jackson's unmatched speed and quickness -- as well as his strong arm -- many have drawn comparisons to a young Vick. Despite the fact that Jackson hasn't started an NFL game yet, Vick agrees with the comparisons.
"When you have a guy like Lamar Jackson who can take it the distance at any time ... you've gotta give him the benefit of the doubt," Vick said. "He has the potential to be on that elite level, although he has to go out and show now that he can do it."
While it's yet to be seen how Jackson stacks up to Vick on the professional stage, Vick made it clear in 2016 that he believed Jackson was a far better college player than he ever was.
He still stands by that message.
"So when I was looking at Lamar Jackson, I've seen a different era doing some things I couldn't do I when I played Virginia Tech University," Vick said. "… Maybe I said a little bit too much, it was like the comment heard around the world. ... It was fun and it was me just being real, and that's what I've seen and I still stand by that."
So far during his short time in Baltimore, Jackson has been used sparingly by offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg as a weapon in the running game and the passing game. Jackson has averaged 5.0 yards per carry on 28 rushing attempts; he's also completed seven of his 12 passing attempts and thrown one touchdown.
Despite the small sample size and the mixed results for Jackson on these plays, Vick believes that Mornhinweg's game plans and Jackson's skill set could prove just as potent as when Vick joined Mornhinweg with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2009.
"I think it's going to be a great fit. … Coach Mornhinweg and I had a great relationship, we still do," Vick said. "Even at this age, I still try to pick Coach's brain and learn as much as I can."
During Vick's second season in Philadelphia in 2010, the four-time Pro Bowler had one of the best seasons of his career, leading the league in yards per carry (6.8) and finishing with a career-high passer rating of 100.2.
While it is still uncertain whether Jackson will become the Ravens' starting quarterback this season, Vick believes that the gifted rookie still has room to grow.
"The way that things happen in the NFL, being able to adjust to that and staying involved and staying mentally into it is what I want to see," Vick said. "There's a certain level of consistency that I want to be able to see."
Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox
To hear the full interview with Vick, listen here: