As Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco inched closer to a full recovery from a right hip injury, rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson won his first two starts, setting the stage for what could be a franchise-altering decision for the organization.
According to former NFL offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz, however, Jackson is not the long-term answer the Ravens should be looking for.
"What is the definition of successful?" Schwartz asked on
Glenn Clark Radio
Nov. 27. "To be a Super Bowl-caliber quarterback is the way I look at a successful quarterback. ... I don't know if Lamar Jackson will ever get to that level."
Since Flacco's Week 9 injury against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Jackson has started two games for the Ravens, and while he has shown flashes of brilliance with his legs, the first-round pick has struggled some in the passing game.
During his first start against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 11, Jackson ran the ball 27 times, the most carries by a quarterback since 1950, and totaled 117 yards on the ground. While this strategy led to a win for the Ravens, Schwartz believes that such a high volume of carries for Jackson cannot be sustained.
"Unless you're [Carolina Panthers quarterback] Cam Newton and you're built like a defensive end, you're gonna get hurt running the ball so much," said Schwartz, an analyst for ESPN Radio and SiriusXM. "Lamar is not a big guy, and if he keeps doing this he's gonna get injured."
While Jackson's running ability is an asset in some situations, Schwartz is hesitant to believe the 2016 Heisman winner has the arm talent to survive in today's pass-heavy NFL.
Before coming into the NFL, Jackson's dynamic playmaking at Louisville came from his legs and his arm, making game-breaking runs and big throws down the field. Despite this success, Jackson struggled some with his accuracy and completed just 57 percent of his passes during his three-year college career.
"You just don't see the improvement," Schwartz said. "Can he do it? Sure. … I'm not going to go out on a limb and say he's gonna be a great quarterback when I just haven't seen the evidence of it."
Jackson has improved his completion percentage from his college days; he's completed 61.4 percent of his passes during his two starts this season. That mark would rank in the bottom seven of qualifiers in the NFL, just ahead of Flacco, who has completed 61.2 percent of his passes on the season.
Along with the on-field issues the Ravens might encounter with Jackson at the helm, Schwartz also pointed to the fact that if head coach John Harbaugh were to leave the team after this season, the presence of Jackson will greatly influence the coaching search for the organization.
"I think that's a very valid concern," Schwartz said. "You need an offensive mind that is really innovative and will try to find way to use Lamar in the best way possible."
To hear more from Schwartz, listen to the full interview here:
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