Lamar Jackson had a rocky NFL debut playing the second half of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game last Thursday against the Chicago Bears.
He looked a bit rattled and seemed surprised at how quickly NFL defenders were able to close in on him, both in the pocket and out in open space as he ran the ball.
On Monday, Jackson admitted that the speed of the game “definitely” was a surprise to him, adding, “I was going to the sideline one play, linebacker caught me from behind. I was like, ‘you gotta run full speed with these guys,'” per Bo Smelka of PressBox.
The toughest thing for young quarterbacks to do when they enter the NFL is adapt to the speed of the game. Jackson is obviously one of the fastest players out there, but even he found it difficult to run away from NFL defenders.
Where it really comes into play, however, is in the passing game. The windows he saw in college are all shrunk down, and players get a break on the ball far more often than what Jackson saw during college. He addressed this as well on Monday.
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) August 6, 2018
Clearly, Jackson has talent. It’s just as clear that he’s still a raw prospect who’s going to take some time to develop before he can really shine and sparkle against top-notch competition.
We look forward to Thursday when he’ll take the field for the second time this summer to see if he’s made the necessary adjustments to the speed of the game, this time against the Los Angeles Rams.