In the beginning of the NFL’s offseason, every day has seemingly sent a star player to a new team. Le’Veon Bell’s signing with the New York Jets and the Cleveland Browns acquisition of  Odell Beckham Jr. may have provided the most headlines, but shifting pieces in Baltimore caught the eye of Fox Sports 1 host Marcellus Wiley.

The Baltimore Ravens have surprised fans by choosing to focus their off-season attention to attaining more offensive pieces for their young quarterback. They chose not to re-sign veterans that created the foundation of their strong defensive unit. C.J. Mosley, Eric Weddle and Terrell Suggs are the most notable players to leave town, but outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith’s loss is sure to be felt as well.

Wiley is not concerned about the Ravens’ future because of his trust in starting quarterback Lamar Jackson. In fact, he claims that putting emphasis on offense, which the Ravens have done by signing running back Mark Ingram and letting the aforementioned free agents walk, is their best path to future success.

Wiley points out that the league has become dominated by offense. Furthermore, the prospect of a dual-threat quarterback enhances offensive capabilities. Wiley says Jackson will pass the ball efficiently with improved play from the pocket. Thereby, “[the rest of the league] is going to have problems,” he said.

The Ravens’ culture is focused and independent of any individual players, according to Wiley. Unfortunately for the Ravens and Wiley, culture may be necessary for success, but it is not sufficient. Talent is also needed, and in this department, Jackson falls woefully short.

With one year under his belt at quarterback, Jackson’s numbers make a Ravens fan cringe every time a passing play is called.

Jackson threw just six touchdowns in the seven games he started, which projected out over a full season would put him 27th amongst all quarterbacks.

Let’s look at passing yards, a key statistic for analyzing quarterback play. Jackson’s 1,201 yards through the air last season ranks 37th amongst all NFL quarterbacks. There are only 32 teams in the league.

All of this came in a season when passing was at an all-time high. Ben Roethlisberger, who ironically leads the Ravens’ rival Pittsburgh Steelers, averaged over double the amount of passing yards per game as Jackson. Keep that in mind when thinking about who will be “causing problems” next season.

Much of the appeal surrounding Jackson’s future comes as a result of his running ability, and his rushing numbers are indeed impressive. In fact, he crossed the goal line five times in his stint under center last season. He evades pressure and sprints down field faster than anyone else. The only problem is that he tends to run so fast the ball gets left behind.

Jackson fumbled ten times throughout the season, leading all players by a wide margin. The next closest in the category was Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott with six, and he carried the ball over twice as many times as Jackson.

Passing and rushing both factor into overall quarterback rating, the most holistic measure of a quarterback’s play. In this metric, Jackson ranks 31st out of 33 eligible quarterbacks.

Even in Jackson’s struggles, the Ravens were able to ride the league’s best defense to an AFC North title. In their home playoff game, Jackson set a new low. He committed more turnovers, three, than completions, two, in the first half of the game. Early into the fourth quarter, Jackson had 25 passing yards with 27 yards lost on sacks, meaning his net passing yardage was negative. In fairness, Jackson deserves credit for finishing the game strong, giving his team a chance in the final minutes.

Wiley believes that the dynamic quarterback will improve in his second season. Historically, quarterbacks have a tendency to regress once they become a known commodity. For every player like Carson Wentz who took a leap forward in his second year, there are multiple Robert Griffin III’s and Dak Prescott’s who struggled after a first-year honeymoon.

All the more, Wiley, a football player himself, should know the chance of injury to a player with Jackson’s style. To advocate doubling down on him is risky.

I am not arguing that the Ravens made the wrong call in drafting Jackson or even in moving on from veteran quarterback Joe Flacco, but to release key players on the defensive side of the ball will cost them. Moreover, the only problems Jackson will be creating next year will be with the Ravens.

Grant Zangwill is a sophomore in the McDonough School of Business. Did I Hear That Right? appears every other Friday.

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