OWINGS MILLS, Md. — For Lamar Jackson, the playoffs can’t start soon enough.
Jackson led the Baltimore Ravens to the top seed in the AFC, which gives them a first-round bye. But Jackson can’t wait to begin the postseason so he can erase the bitter memory of last year’s playoff debut.
In last season’s 23-17 wild-card loss to the Los Angeles Chargers, Jackson had the worst start of his career, completing 3 of 9 passes for 25 yards in the first three quarters. The youngest quarterback to ever start a playoff game, Jackson threw two fourth-quarter touchdown passes to get Baltimore within one score, but that proved no consolation.
“That game still motivates me,” Jackson said Friday after the Ravens’ final practice of the bye week. “I still haven’t played my second playoff game yet. … That game is over with. We’ve been having a great year this year. We just got to keep it going. I want a Super Bowl. I’m not worried about that. That was my rookie season.”
Jackson has often said that loss fueled him throughout the offseason and into what has become a record-breaking second season. He came the first NFL player to throw for over 3,000 yards and rush for 1,000 yards in a single season.
On Friday, he added to his awards when he was named first-team All-Pro by the Associated Press.
“I want a Super Bowl,” Jackson said. “All the accolades and stuff like that, I’ll cherish that another time. I’m trying to chase something else right now.”
Jackson is the front-runner for NFL Most Valuable Player. The past six first-team All-Pro quarterbacks have won that award.
Where does Jackson plan to keep all these accolades?
“I don’t even know,” he said. “The Heisman [Trophy], I still just have that in the box right now.”
The bye proved timely for Jackson. He has been battling the flu, which forced him to watch parts of last Sunday’s regular-season finale in the locker room. The illness also caused him to miss Tuesday’s practice.
“I really don’t get sick,” Jackson said. “It was like a stomach bug. It was a weird, nasty feeling. Numbness. … I’m over it. I’m good. I’m 100 [percent] right now.”
Jackson’s bigger concern is the fate of his playcaller. Offensive coordinator Greg Roman interviewed Thursday night with the Cleveland Browns about their head-coaching vacancy.
In Roman’s first season as the Ravens’ coordinator, Baltimore led the NFL in scoring (33.2 points per game) and broke the 41-year-old league record for rushing yards (3,296) in a season.
“They need to chill out,” Jackson said of the Browns. “We got something to do right now. We need him to focus because we need to focus. We’re trying to get somewhere. You guys are going to have your own turn when the season is over with.”
Has Jackson told Roman this?
“Nah, he should know that,” Jackson said.