Lamar Jackson has been one of the big talks in the NFL over the past week. Without agreeing to renew his contract with the franchise by the deadline set by the player himself, the pressure on his individual performances will be greater than ever. In the first game, there was no sign of distraction: Lamar played well, operated the offense perfectly and knew how to exploit favorable matchups, especially in the second half.
It's not news to anyone how much Jackson can create with his legs - the recognition he also deserves now is as a passer. His evolution as a thrower is constant: his accuracy was highlighted in the first game of the season, as was his intelligence in exploring the individual matchups that the Jets defense gave him.
The touchdown for Rashod Bateman will gain more prominence at the highlights, but it's the first touchdown connection with Devin Duvernay that impresses. Lamar stays calm as the pocket starts to crumble, sees the receiver win the route from the outside and throws a precise ball, perfect for opening 10-0 on the scoreboard. It's a sign of new times: In previous years, Jackson would have thought about stepping out of cover and gaining yards with his legs. Not in 2022.
It will be impossible for Lamar to avoid discussions of a contract renewal, especially after reports he has turned down between $160 million and $180 million guaranteed in the new deal. Consequently, every game will carry extra weight in the conversation with Baltimore. For now, the first showing of 2022 earns a good grade without much doubt.