A.J. Hawk Outlines Plan To Limit Lamar Jackson

The Ravens clinched the AFC North on Thursday, as Lamar Jackson may have ended the MVP debate

After Hours With Amy Lawrence
December 13, 2019 - 9:54 am
Lamar Jackson Ravens

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The Baltimore Ravens clinched the AFC North on Thursday, and Lamar Jackson may have ended the NFL MVP debate. 

Jackson threw for a career-high five touchdowns and broke Michael Vick’s single-season rushing record in a 42-21 win over the New York Jets. Jackson rushed eight times for 86 yards and now has 1,103 rushing yards on the season. Vick rushed for 1,039 yards in 2006.

How in the world does a defense stop this offense, which has led the Ravens (12-2) to 10 straight wins?

“The problems a guy like Lamar presents are so tough,” Super Bowl champion linebacker A.J. Hawk said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “You start to think about game-planning against him and it’s like where do we start? Obviously you’ve got to play almost perfect on defense. To try to stop him, everyone has to know exactly what their assignments are on every single play. If he gives it to the dive, make sure your gap is here, and you got to know when he keeps it not only who is responsible for the quarterback, but if you’re playing a guy like Lamar, you’ve got to have more than one guy responsible for him.”

Unfortunately for defenses, Jackson isn’t just a runner. He’s completed 66.2 percent of his passes for 2,889 yards, 33 touchdowns and six interceptions this season. He is epitome of a dual-threat quarterback.

“It definitely presents a ton of different obstacles,” Hawk said. “You’ve just got to find a way to try and slow him down early and try to confuse him a little bit, maybe throw some run blitzes at him early and get him kind of off his game. But he’s able to improvise so well. It’s a tall task right now, and not a whole lot of people are having success against him.”

Hawk then outlined his plan for limiting Jackson.

“I would make him beat us passing,” Hawk said. “Make him prove that he can pick us apart through the air for four quarters. You’re just hoping to make him one-dimensional and take away the run game, which is crazy to think with Mark Ingram back there and all that Lamar is able to do when he does run. If you can find a way to stifle the run early, make him beat you passing. That’s what you have to try to do with Lamar and try to force him into making a couple mistakes.”

The Ravens play the Browns in Cleveland (6-7) in Week 16 before ending the season at home against the Steelers (8-5). Both games kick off at 1 p.m. ET.