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You Are Wrong About Lamar Jackson - Warren Sharp

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For anyone unfamiliar with Warren Sharp, he's a big time "football analytics twitter" guy. He posted this article today and I thought I would share for fans who may have not watched a lot of Lamar last year but are running with this notion that he's doomed to be a terrible passer or things like that.

https://www.sharpfootballanalysis.com/analysis/you-are-wrong-about-lamar-jackson/

 

Some interesting takeaways:

 

"There have been only eleven quarterbacks in NFL history to attempt at least 150 passes when they were 21-years old or younger.

Lamar Jackson was one of eleven.

Where did he rank in passer rating?

Number one of eleven.

He also ranked number two in adjusted yards per attempt and number two in completion rate.

The list includes Matthew Stafford, Alex Smith, Jameis Winston, Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, and Drew Bledsoe, among others.

Most of those other guys on the list are prototypes. Most are in the 6’4”, 225 lb range or bigger. Most are pocket quarterbacks with big arms who throw the ball with touch and accuracy. Most were No. 1 overall draft picks. After all, those are the guys who get to start at such a young age. The guys who were groomed to pass downfield.

You would think those quarterbacks could outperform Lamar Jackson as a passer.

You are wrong about Lamar Jackson."

 

"Let’s broaden the sample.

Of 45 first-round quarterbacks drafted since Peyton Manning with at least 150 attempts their rookie season, Lamar Jackson posted a HIGHER YPA and a BETTER PASSER RATING in his rookie season than these QBs drafted above him over the last several years:

  • Andrew Luck (1st overall)
  • Jared Goff (1st overall)
  • Sam Bradford (1st overall)
  • Carson Palmer (1st overall)
  • Peyton Manning (1st overall)
  • Carson Wentz (2nd overall)
  • Mitchell Trubisky (2nd overall)
  • Sam Darnold (3rd overall)

Just to name a few.

Of the 45, Lamar Jackson ranked in the top-10 in yards per attempt, adjusted yards per attempt, passer rating, and posted the second-lowest interception rate.

You’re having trouble digesting this information.

Your eyes saw something last year that your brain processed as subpar quarterback play.

And your ears listened to announcers talk negatively about Jackson’s ability to pass the football.

“You’re looking for the secret, but you won’t find it, because of course you’re not really looking. You don’t really want to know. You want to be fooled.”  (The Prestige)"

 

 

Obviously we all know Lamar isn't the most refined passer, but I found this article interesting - and I would urge you to read the entire article.

Granted the FootballsFuture creating a thread curse will probably strike now that I posted this, but I ask: what do we all expect from Lamar as a passer this year?

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He’s s gimmicky runner. Of course pocket passers have lower rookie ratings. They are actually looking to learn to play QB properly instead of RB, and they’re going up against defenses looking to stop a QB instead of a running back. 

How many times do we have to see this?

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Jackson is more Russel Wilson than Michael Vick, he's not instantly going to be an elite pocket passer but I think he can make the transition like Wilson did. 

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It took Russell Wilson like 4-5 years of being elite to gain respect. People have their pre-conceived notions of Lamar based on 6 games through his rookie year when he wasn't supposed to play AND he was already considered a raw passer. For those reasons, people do not believe he can improve and until shown otherwise (heck, maybe not even at that point) consistently for many years, they're just gonna keep repeating the same "he's a RB!" garbage.

The thing that did and still does make Russell Wilson special is that not only was he amazing at making plays out of nothing, he was a GREAT pocket passer (still is), and he avoided big hits while still scrambling. Lamar has already shown the tendency to take big hits or take hits in general instead of just going down. We've all seen what can happen to guys when they do that, and that's a legit criticism of him.

However, if you've watched any of him so far this preseason, his passing - from his reads, to his mechanics to his ball placement - is LIGHT YEARS above what it was last year. Will people care? Time will tell.

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25 minutes ago, SwoleXmad said:

Jackson is more Russel Wilson than Michael Vick, he's not instantly going to be an elite pocket passer but I think he can make the transition like Wilson did. 

You are so backwards. Wilson was always a pocket passer who could run, Vick was a runner who had a monster arm. Jackson is a runner trying to get more consistent throwing. 80% of his passes are good. You have to be closer to 95% in this league.

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Did you guys see the first 3 quarters against the Chargers though? He's been figured out.

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13 minutes ago, Thomas5737 said:

You are so backwards. Wilson was always a pocket passer who could run, Vick was a runner who had a monster arm. Jackson is a runner trying to get more consistent throwing. 80% of his passes are good. You have to be closer to 95% in this league.

That's a broad generalization not a 1for1 comparison mate. 

Also Wilson still rarely threw in his early years (not hitting close 500+ attempts until his breakout year as a passer) 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, SwoleXmad said:

That's a broad generalization not a 1for1 comparison mate. 

Also Wilson still rarely threw in his early years (not hitting close 500+ attempts until his breakout year as a passer) 

So attempts = a pocket passer? Wilson was a pocket passer in college. Sure he made plays with his legs it would be dumb not to but Lamar Jackson had more rushing yards in his junior (and sophomore) year than Wilson had in 4 years of college. The Seahawks had a dominant defense and running game that is why he didn't pass 500 times a season. Vick, who you think was a pocket passer never had 500 attempts in a season and only twice eclipsed 400 and not by much.

Edited by Thomas5737

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1 hour ago, wackywabbit said:

Did you guys see the first 3 quarters against the Chargers though? He's been figured out.

3 quarters for a 21 year old rookie seems like it may be a flawed sample size to determine this.

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2 hours ago, AFlaccoSeagulls said:

It took Russell Wilson like 4-5 years of being elite to gain respect.

No way.  Almost everyone agreed Wilson was underdrafted because of his height and the Seahawks were the most popular Super Bowl pick going into 2013 because of Wilson, along with a bunch of other reasons.  Not that the top 100 isn't garbage, but he was voted the #22 player after his 2nd season.  He may have had a group of detractors, like almost any successful athlete, but it definitely did not take him 4-5 years to gain respect.  

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Posted (edited)

I love Warren Sharp's metrics based analysis. HUGE fan.   A guy I enjoy reading a lot.

But, if there's a flaw, it's that he is a metrics guy and ignores context and if the "eye test" has major flags.   I absolutely think the old school guys who dismiss metrics (that's you, Dave Gettleman) are obsolete dinosaurs who are foolish to not use all the tools available for talent evaluation...but I also have a problem with metrics guys who dismiss old-school methods.  It's supposed to a blend, not one over the other.

Why do I raise this?  Well, I see 2 major flaws with Sharp's premise:

1.  Sharp uses an arbitrary age-21 cutoff for rookies.   I would point out that for QB's, a rookie being 21 or 22 or even 23 doesn't matter nearly so much.  And why does that matter?  Well, it excludes guys like Big Ben who were fantastic their rookie season.   And that brings me to my next point:

2.  The other rookie QB's Sharp references were almost all from 1.1 or top 5 pick teams - so bad teams, that were rebuilding.   Lamar joined a team with a top 3 D on DVOA, and got top 10 OL play (again by DVOA), and had been a playoff near-miss team the year before.   Just like how Big Ben joined a very good PIT team that had suffered from the Maddox/Stewart combo flaming out there.   Lamar played on a team with a great D, and a power-based read-option scheme buttressed by good OL play (that didn't yield as much fruit in Flacco's days because of the 8-man boxes they were facing not fearing Flacco at all - which they couldn't simply play with the read option power game BAL had - until LAC figured it out).  Few if any of the guys cited by Sharp as comps had the same environment that creates QB success (remember the year Andy Dalton had when he had a top 5 OL, and then when 3 starters left, was out of the top 20 next year...too many other examples to count).

Now, I'm actually a believer in Lamar's ability to improve. But to say that he was a good pure passer last season - that just doesn't pass the eye test.   He was slow in his reads, and his accuracy wasn't even close to his college days.   And his decisiveness was an issue that got exposed when they were playing from behind - they just didn't have to play many games from behind, it was the perfect setup for him.   And he still showed major issues as a passer.

Here's the thing - he really wasn't supposed to be out there last year.  He looks more decisive and quick in his reads, and his accuracy / placement looked really good.  I want to see it of course in the reg. season games, but the tools were there in college, and they're still there now.  This isn't Vince Young V2.  But on the flip side - to characterize 2018 as a great year because other 21-year old QB's didn't have as good of a YPA / QBR - it's taking team-influenced numbers and fitting them to confirm a belief IMO.   I say that as a guy who thinks L-Jax can be successful as a passer in the future - but to say he's already there from last year is a metrics bridge too far.

Edited by Broncofan

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Posted (edited)

Raven fan right now

 

this-is-fine.0.jpg

 

Edited by Bonanza23

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