Lamar Jackson became the second quarterback ever to reach 1,000 rushing yards in a season in Week 14 against the Bills, joining legendary scrambler Michael Vick.
He's now just 23 yards away from breaking Vick's single-season rushing record for quarterbacks (1,039). With Jackson bound to pass Vick over the next game or two, the four-time Pro-Bowler talked with Clifton Brown of Ravens.com about the record and his relationship with Baltimore's bright new star.
“It’s a cool moment in sports, especially for Lamar and also for the Baltimore Ravens,” Vick said. “It’s something that everybody can be excited about. Breaking that record, it’s something I can honestly say I didn’t think I’d see for a long time. When Lamar was coming out of college, we had conversations. I used to tell him, ‘Play your game, be you.’ But I couldn’t even foresee Lamar doing this so quickly.”
Vick and Jackson met through a mutual quarterback coach based in South Florida named Oliver Boseman. Vick liked Jackson's game, so he reached out.
“Oliver [Boseman] put me in contact with Lamar, and we just stayed in contact, built a relationship,” he said. “It’s cool to see Lamar having so much fun, so much success with his teammates. That’s what the game is all about.”
Not every quarterback with elite running ability makes it in the NFL. For every Vick and Jackson, there's a Marcus Mariota and Terrelle Pryor.
Building an offense around a running quarterback's strengths rather than making them fit into a pass-heavy system puts those players in a position to succeed. That's exactly what John Harbaugh and his staff have done with Jackson, and Vick loves what he sees.
“If he had gone to a different place, they may have tried to throw Lamar into a different system,” Vick said. “He could’ve done it, shown his scrambling ability when a play broke down. But it’s different when you have a coach whose expertise is the run game. And John Harbaugh is a coach who’s going to insist that the defense is tight, that the whole ship stays air tight.”
But what gave Vick confidence Jackson was bound for success? The fact he got to work with Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman.
“Greg Roman spent time with Colin Kaepernick in San Francisco, and their offense was different and dynamic when Kaepernick burst on the scene,” he said. “Then Roman had success with Tyrod (Taylor) in the same system. But now he gets a guy like Lamar, who’s a phenomenal talent. You hook him up with Roman, a master of the run game. You put the fastest quarterback in the game, with that? Okay.”
Vick changed the game, and so is Jackson with his play this season. Time will tell whether he can lift the Ravens to a level Vick never could with his teams.
A Super Bowl championship.
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