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Ben Roethlisberger on Lamar Jackson: ‘Don’t Fear Him’ in the Pocket



Ben Roethlisberger AFC North Ravens QB Lamar Jackson Steelers

Ben Roethlisberger made some headlines through his Footbhalin podcast, as the future Hall of Fame quarterback said Lamar Jackson doesn’t really “fear you as a pocket passer.” Many, including Jackson’s former teammate Robert Griffin III, thought Roethlisberger was taking a shot at him, but he was actually describing how Odell Beckham Jr. will change how teams play the Baltimore Ravens.

“You don’t really fear Lamar’s arm, his accuracy all the time. He’s got a huge arm. He can make things happen when he scrambles and whatever. But you don’t fear him just sitting in the pocket and picking you apart,” Roethlisberger said. “So you bring safeties down because you do fear him as a runner, because he’s a different level runner. So you fear that, so you bring safeties down. But now, if you’ve got that guy on the outside, you better put a safety back or it’s one-on-one, you can just throw it to him. So, it definitely creates some potential opportunities for that offense and for Lamar to run if he has to, or to take those big shots down the field if he needs to if they bring those safeties down.”

Did Ben Roethlisberger say anything that wasn’t factual? Jackson is obviously ultra talented, but his accuracy issues and inability to throw outside of the numbers have been well documented. He’s not a Tom Brady-type of quarterback who will slice defenses up by just making reads from the pocket. If Jackson stays in Baltimore, Beckham will be by far his most talented wide receiver that he’s ever had, which will benefit him as a quarterback. That was the point that Roethlisberger was trying to make.

“It’s a big deal,” Roethlisberger said of Beckham joining the Ravens. “That’s a big boost.”

Pro Football Focus on Twitter took part of Roethlisberger’s comment, and made it appear as if he was talking down on Jackson. But if you listen to the full clip (start at 34:38), you’ll see the actual context.

Bill Barnwell of ESPN pointed out that Jackson actually has a better career passer rating in the pocket than Roethlisberger. Jackson’s rating is 97.9, while Roethlisberger’s is 94.2. The stat is pretty misleading, however, as Roethlisberger has a much larger sample size and Jackson throws from outside the pocket a lot more. If we’re being honest, I don’t think anyone would consider Jackson as a better pocket passer than Roethlisberger. Regardless, Jackson hasn’t had playoff success to match Roethlisberger’s yet. Jackson is 1-3 in the playoffs and has a 68.3 passer rating. He also has just seven fourth quarter comebacks and 10 game-winning drives in four years as a starter. He has a long way to go to reach Roethlisberger’s 41 fourth quarter comebacks and 53 game-winning drives, both of which rank third all-time.

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