Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson has thrown for nearly 600 yards and seven touchdowns through two games this season, and the degree to which Jackson has improved from last year has surprised some observers.
But to outside linebacker Matthew Judon, this was exactly what the Ravens expected.
"We see Lamar every day," Judon said on
Glenn Clark Radio
Sept. 17. "And we've been knowing how good he was since he came in. ... There were a whole bunch of doubters, but inside the organization, we knew how good he was."
"He's carrying the team right now and that's what you want from a quarterback and that's what you want from a leader," he added.
Last year, Jackson completed 58.2 percent of his passes and threw for six touchdowns in eight starts. He's already taking significant strides. This season, he has upped his completion percentage (71.9 percent) and has already thrown more touchdowns in two games than he did all of last season.
While Jackson continues to lead a dynamic offense, Judon, 27, has been thrust into a leadership role himself. With the departure of veteran outside linebacker Terrell Suggs, who now plays for the Arizona Cardinals, Judon is looking to thrive in his new role. However, Judon, who has two sacks thus far, knows how big the shoes are that he's filling.
"I'm just having fun right now, it's just going out there and competing at a high level," Judon said. "That's all I'm trying to do and if it looks like Terrell Suggs it's only because he did it at a high level for so long."
Judon is one of four Ravens defensive players in a group known as "The Council." Judon, defensive back Anthony Levine Sr., linebacker Patrick Onwuasor and safety Tony Jefferson make up the group. Judon believes The Council is an exclusive club within the team that takes more than being a good football player to be a part of, which cornerback Marlon Humphrey
can attest to
"The Council isn't about football, man," Judon said. "The Council is about the intangibles that you don't see, the work ethic, the dependability, the guy that you can lean on. Now you don't have to be an underdog, but just having that type of mentality."
A fifth-round pick out of Grand Valley State, Judon is in the final year of the four-year deal he signed as a rookie in 2016. He's eligible for free agency after the 2019 season.
"I love the Ravens. Whatever happens happens. I'm here for the rest of the season and I'm going to try and kill every offensive lineman in my way," Judon said. "That's up to the [front office] and my agency. ... I'm just here to play the game."
Judon also touched on the following topics ...
- The Ravens are looking for redemption Sept. 22 against the Kansas City Chiefs after losing to them, 27-24, last season. Judon believes the Ravens have learned from that game and they aim to come out on top this time.
"Being a football player, you have to have a short memory," Judon said. "We didn't let that loss turn into two losses and snowball on us. We got through it, we got rid of it. But this week we're going to rewatch that game, see what we did right, see what we did wrong and then we're going to go out there and try to take advantage of all that."
- ESPN college football analyst Tim Tebow was recently asked about California's Fair Pay to Play Act, which would allow the state's student-athletes to receive compensation for their name, image and likeness beginning in 2023 if the bill is signed into law. Tebow was critical of the bill.
"What Tim Tebow said, it was definitely out of passion. I think Tim Tebow doesn't know anything besides the SEC football," Judon said. "... It's players that get their Pell Grants of whatever type of money and sending it straight back home because their family doesn't have and their family is in need and they have younger siblings that look up to them. Tim Tebow didn't think about any of that before he spoke, it was just purely out of passion."
- Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is out the rest of this season due to an elbow injury that forced him out of his team's loss to the Seattle Seahawks Sept. 15. Judon wished Roethlisberger luck in his recovery while also sending a message.
"Injuries suck, man," Judon said. "They're a part of the game and you hate for it to happen for a quarterback that you like to sack. I wish all the best in him and hopefully he recovers fast and gets back to the player that he is. But injuries happen and we all know that's a part of the game, so I guess I'm going to have to go sack Mason Rudolph."
To hear more from Judon, listen to the full interview here:
Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox