That leads right into our next talking point regarding Jackson. John Steigerwald of the Pittsburgh-based TribLIVE.com said the notion that quarterbacks who run frequently are bound to get hurt is a misconception.
“If you asked a Steelers fan who will start more games this year, Jackson or Ben Roethlisberger, just about everybody would pick Roethlisberger,” Steigerwald wrote. “Because, as everybody knows, quarterbacks who run a lot always get hurt. Really? Jackson ran the ball 128 times in his eight starts as a rookie and was still standing after a playoff loss to the San Diego Chargers. Is he the exception? Nope.
“Lots of running quarterbacks have stayed healthy, and that includes a group of guys who never heard of sliding, which is a relatively new concept.”
Steigerwald pointed to the impressive durability of mobile quarterbacks who rarely — if ever — slid, such as Kordell Stewart, Randall Cunningham, Michael Vick, John Elway and Fran Tarkenton. He also noted that Jackson rushed 655 times for 4,132 yards and 50 touchdowns during his three years at Louisville and never missed a start.
“Yeah, players are bigger and faster now, but modern quarterbacks also are protected like fine china,” Steigerwald wrote. “Quarterbacks, especially ones who have the ability to make people miss, might get hurt less often if they stopped looking for a place to fall down and kept making people miss. … Your favorite stay-in-the-pocket, slide-at-the-first-sign-of-trouble quarterback is more likely to get hurt.”
Our John Eisenberg offered a similar take.
“Remember, he’s playing football, a sport of, by and all about contact. No one gets to sign a waiver and play in bubble wrap,” Eisenberg wrote. “If a guy is on the field, he (and those who root for him) have to understand and accept that he’s going to take some hits. The alternative is just don’t play. Don’t get on the field. Don’t send imaginations soaring with a ‘Lamar Leap.’ No thanks. I’d rather enjoy the ride.”
Ray Lewis on Jackson’s Leadership, Picking Crabs With Peyton Manning
While legendary Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis is in the camp of those who believe Jackson should protect himself more against contact, the first-ballot Hall of Famer said he loves Jackson’s enthusiasm for football and potential as a team leader.
That’s high praise coming from one of the NFL’s all-time great leaders.
“That’s why he loves contact, because he loves the game of football,” Lewis said on Glenn Clark Radio. “But his energy is what he’s going to be able to distribute across the board to the team, to the city. I really adore him. I think he’s amazing, and I think he’s going to be one heck of a leader for Baltimore in the future to come.”