Throughout the history of American sports, the quarterback position has been the one that sports fans dream of becoming when they grow up.
Fans understand that their favorite football team is only as good as the man under center.
Over the years, fans have gotten used to seeing a certain type of quarterback. With legends like Montana and Marino as the template, fans and general managers alike have always wanted that tall, accurate, and pure pocket passing quarterback. The only areas for argument that existed at the position resided between if one preferred a gun slinger or a marksman with high completion percentages. Although we did see dual-threat quarterbacks such as Randall Cunningham and Michael Vick from time to time, there was a general consensus among teams to stay away from that type of quarterback.
Recently however, there seems to be a shift happening right in front of our eyes. While one could argue this shift started in 2011 with Cam Newton, I feel that even he is an outlier. It’s pretty hard to pass up on a 6’5″, 245 pound quarterback who ran the 40-yard dash in 4.59 seconds.
No, I believe this shift began last year when the Baltimore Ravens finally decided to bench Joe Flacco and put their season in the hands of first round draft pick Lamar Jackson.
From Week 11 on last season, Jackson took the league by storm as he lead Baltimore to the playoffs. He led all quarterbacks in rushing yards (695) and passed for 1,201 yards, 6 touchdowns, and threw 3 interceptions in 7 games started.
Despite his remarkable stretch however, people were still skeptical of a running quarterback being the future. Those people seemed to be right through the first three quarters of Baltimore’s Wild Card matchup against the Chargers.
However, Jackson seemed to figure something out in the fourth quarter, and while it was too late, it was an encouraging performance for his future. The guy was just 21 when he entered the pros, extremely young for any position whatsoever, and has plenty of time to develop as a solid quarterback.
After an offseason of questions surrounding his ability to throw the football, Jackson stormed out of the gates last week against Miami. He threw for 324 yards and 5 passing touchdowns as the Ravens routed the Dolphins. What’s also interesting to note is that Jackson had virtually no presence in the running game as he rushed for a grand total of 6 yards.
Although the Ravens played a Dolphins team that projects to have a historically bad season, it was still an impressive performance nevertheless. Critics can argue that Jackson won’t face another defense as bad as the Dolphins for the rest of the season, but they can’t argue that Jackson made several great throws that includes a fadeaway touchdown pass in the face of severe pressure.
While fans should not expect Jackson to throw 5 touchdowns every week, it’s important to note that Jackson has shown opposing franchises that simply stacking the box against him won’t work.
Jackson is making tremendous strides in a league that contains quarterbacks such as Cam Newton, Deshaun Watson, Russell Wilson, and Josh Allen. These group of guys along with Jackson are proving that the stigma surrounding a dual-threat quarterback is no more.
Similar to the bunt in baseball or the mid-range jumper in basketball, we could be witnessing a new phenomenon that renders the cement-footed quarterbacks of past years totally obsolete.
With Jackson at the forefront of the Ravens offense, I believe that we officially have entered the era of the dual-threat quarterback.
Welcome to New Jack City!