Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson says 'I strongly doubt' NFL has figured him out

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson's playful and charismatic mood was put on pause for one question Tuesday.

Has Jackson heard the talk that the NFL will catch up to him this season?

Last week, ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reported that people around the league have told him: "This might be the year that everybody figures out Lamar Jackson."

"We're going to see," Jackson said. "But I doubt it, though. I strongly doubt it."

In 2019, Jackson became the youngest quarterback to win NFL MVP, leading the league in touchdown passes (36) and setting a record for most rushing yards by a quarterback (1,206). Jackson's numbers dipped last season, but he still ranked seventh in Total QBR (73.5) and finished ninth in the league in rushing (1,005).

This year, Jackson missed the first 10 days of training camp after testing positive for COVID-19. But coaches and teammates have raved about how sharp Jackson has been this summer.

"Lamar is slinging the rock like he didn't have those 10 days off because of COVID," tight end Mark Andrews said last week. "He's more focused than he's ever been."

Jackson's biggest challenge is building chemistry with his targets. On Tuesday, only half of Baltimore's 12 wide receivers on the roster suited up for practice.

Marquise Brown (hamstring), Sammy Watkins (undisclosed), Rashod Bateman (groin), Miles Boykin (hamstring), James Proche (back) and Deon Cain (undisclosed) are all sidelined with injuries. Four of the six wide receivers catching passes from Jackson were undrafted.

But Jackson believes the passing game will get on track before the Sept. 13 season opener against the Las Vegas Raiders because he worked with many of the receivers in offseason workouts in Florida and Arizona.

"When they are back, we'll be hitting right where we started off at," Jackson said. "We ain't worried about it because they've been working hard and we've been working hard as well."