You’ll be hard-pressed to remember a time when a reigning Heisman Trophy winner got less respect heading into a new season. Lamar Jackson, the fleet-footed quarterback for the Louisville Cardinals dazzled defenses last season, and was awarded the worlds heaviest paperweight as a reward.
Ahead of the 2017 season, though, questions abound about his ability to play his position at the next level.
In a recent Sports Illustrated article, an unnamed ACC coach has some unfavorable things to say about Jackson.
“Jackson has no shot at playing quarterback in the NFL. None,” the unnamed coach said. “He can’t make the throws and can’t read coverages. He’s not going to have a chance.”
Even more recently, that unnamed source has been identified as Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson. Clawson says there has been a mistake, and he has nothing but respect for what Jackson can do on a football field.
“I never said those things. I have great respect for Lamar Jackson as a football player. I think he is one of the elite players not only in the ACC, but in the country. I respect the way he plays the quarterback position, and those comments in no way reflect the respect I have for him. I would never say that.”
Jackson said on Saturday that he was told that Clawson was the coach who made those comments. Whether or not it is true is beside the point now; Jackson believes it is. That should make for an interesting matchup when the two sides meet on October 28th. But herein lies the rub for Jackson: he has to win with his arm.
Everyone already knows what he can do with his feet in the NCAA. He has elite speed coming out of the pocket, and he can make things happen on the run. But that won’t be enough in the NFL. The knock on him continues to be that he can’t pick apart a defense and win schematically, and through the air, which is what is required in the NFL.
Louisville is expected to run more plays from under center this season. Last year, most of Jackson’s snaps were taken with him in the shotgun.
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