At this point, anybody with a Red Zone subscription knows just how exciting and special of a player Lamar Jackson. You don't become the second-youngest MVP, and only the second-ever unanimous MVP in NFL history, without being built a little (or a lot) differently.
Still, it's always nice to hear it from the guys who are actually tasked with defending him, too.
"I don’t think you can really duplicate preparing for him in practice," Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu told the All Things Covered podcast Tuesday. "Not many scout team quarterbacks can do what he do."
The Chiefs, of course, come to Baltimore Monday Night for one of the most highly-anticipated regular season matchups in recent memory. Kansas City and Baltimore are the consensus two best teams in the NFL, and they are led by the league's two most recent MVP winners.
If anyone knows how important stopping Jackson will be on Monday night, it's Mathieu. The Chiefs are coming off a surprising struggle with the Chargers, who managed to take the game to overtime despite starting a rookie quarterback in his first-ever game.
Mathieu knows the same effort won't be enough in Week 3.
"I think it’s really a mindset, how are we going to approach this week?" Mathieu said. "I think the way we played against the Chargers, you know I’m happy we won the game but I’m glad we played that way, because now we have some extra motivation going into a big primetime game against a high-powered offense."
One of the hosts of All Things Covered is Patrick Peterson, cornerback for the Cardinals, who faced Jackson and the Ravens in Week 2 of the 2019 season. Peterson didn't play in that game, so he wasn't able to give Mathieu any tips. But the latter knows just what Jackson brings to the table.
"I think Lamar is a special player," Mathieu said. "You put on the film and you realize that this is a quarterback that’s comfortable in this offense. Whereas most of these quarterbacks in the league, they’re not comfortable in their own offense, and so they don’t present as many challenges. You know obviously you’ve got a great running game. And then you see him as well, you know, trying his best to stretch the ball downfield, get everybody involved, like you mentioned, completing a high percentage of his passes. And we all know what he can do once he gets into open space. So it’s going to take all 11 of us, man, to really try our best to contain him, to affect him, on each and every play."
Containing Lamar Jackson on "each and every play" is easier said than done. In fact, it's been just about impossible for any defense to face him in the last year.
Of course, while Jackson's sterling 21-3 regular-season career record is mighty impressive, it hasn't meant a whole lot against the Chiefs. Two of his three losses have come against Kansas City, though both were on the road.
The Chiefs won't be scared by Jackson after beating him in back-to-back matchups, but they certainly respect his talents. Both teams recognize just how special the quarterback on the other sidelines are, and it looks like Jackson-Mahomes could be this generation's preeminent quarterback rivalry.
It all sets up for the potential game of the year in the NFL on Monday night in Baltimore.