Ray Lewis knows what it takes to win. The two-time Super Bowl champion and seven-time first-team all-pro recently gave his thoughts on current Baltimore Ravens franchise QB Lamar Jackson, and the weapons he’ll need to elevate the team’s potential even further.
“I think you need to surround him around the things that he needs, you know. You think about anytime you get into the playoffs, you’re dealing with a Patrick Mahomes—all of these types of guys who are throwing the ball to legit wide receivers,” Lewis said in an interview with ESPN’s First Take on Thursday. “We have to add to [Marquise] Hollywood Brown, we have to add to the tight end, we have to put a guy at the X position, at the Z position.”
After an MVP sophomore season in 2019, Jackson’s production somewhat fell off during the 2020 campaign, as he threw 10 less touchdowns (26) and three more interceptions (9) than he had the previous year. Still, he led the Ravens to an 11-5 record, good enough for second in the AFC North. His Baltimore squad beat Tennessee 20-13 in the Wild Card game before bowing out to the Buffalo Bills in the AFC Divisional Round, 17-3. Jackson was injured for part of the latter contest.
Jackson’s WR1 was, as Lewis mentioned, Marquise ‘Hollywood’ Brown, who had a decent season but only mustered a 58.0 catch percentage and caught eight TDs. Will Brown alone be enough to help Lamar Jackson get to a Super Bowl? No, says Ray Lewis.
“When you think about, ‘How do you help Lamar?’ You have to put pieces around Lamar to help Lamar,” Lewis continues. “I get it, right, that we’re the number one rush team in football the last two years, and that’s great. That’s great to be able to do that, but to go to the next level, you’re gonna have to have a big-play X or Z on the outside that…takes a lot of pressure off Lamar when Lamar is doing what he does.”
The Ravens have apparently attempted to get those missing pieces this offseason. They made a big push for Indianapolis wideout T.Y. Hilton, but the veteran elected to reject the Ravens’ generous offer and return to the Colts on a lesser deal: one year, $10 million with $8 million fully guaranteed.
Therefore, it’s on to the next one for Baltimore’s front office, as the free agency push continues. Lewis is emphatic on the point that his former team will need to bring in weapons to enable Jackson to reach the big game.
“So, can he do it? Absolutely, but you’re gonna have to surround him around the right pieces, for sure.”