Vic Fangio on Lamar Jackson: Comparing to Michael Vick

Dolphins Prepare for Tactical Battle with Ravens' Star QB

by Zain ul Abedin
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Vic Fangio on Lamar Jackson: Comparing to Michael Vick
© Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

As the Miami Dolphins gear up for a formidable clash with the Baltimore Ravens, defensive coordinator Vic Fangio is acutely aware of the unique challenge awaiting him this Sunday. A seasoned strategist, Fangio has encountered his fair share of dual-threat quarterbacks.

However, none compare to the enigma that is Lamar Jackson. Speaking on Thursday, Fangio couldn't help but chuckle as he acknowledged Jackson's distinctiveness. "He's unlike anybody else," Fangio remarked, per the team's official transcript.

"The only other player that's been like him in the last 50 years is Michael Vick." He praised the Ravens' front office, specifically Ozzie Newsome and Eric DeCosta, for their astuteness in drafting Jackson. Fangio believes that the other 31 teams that overlooked Jackson are now ruing their decision.

He lauded Jackson's progression, especially noting his dynamic playmaking ability and improvement as a passer. Jackson's evolution into a more complete quarterback has posed additional headaches for opposing defenses. His ability to extend plays and keep the passing option alive has significantly enhanced the Ravens' offensive threat.

Baltimore, led by Jackson, has excelled against top-tier teams, securing six victories by more than 14 points against winning-record teams in 2023 - a feat second only to Tom Brady's record in 2007. Jackson's statistics this year have been nothing short of remarkable.

Amassing 4,143 offensive yards, he ranks sixth in the NFL and leads quarterbacks with 786 rushing yards. His efficiency is evident, ranking fourth in yards per attempt at 7.7. Jackson's proficiency isn't confined to his rushing; he ranks third in the NFL in yards per carry (5.5) and fourth in pass yards per attempt.

His sustained performance might see him join an elite group of quarterbacks who have ranked in the top four in both metrics, a feat achieved by Russell Wilson, Cam Newton, Robert Griffin III, and Michael Vick.

Strategizing Against Jackson

Jackson's prowess in intermediate passes has been particularly striking.

According to Next Gen Stats, he leads the NFL in pass touchdown-to-interception ratio (9-0) and passer rating (133.5) for throws of 10-19 air yards. Moreover, Jackson's effectiveness in play action has been unmatched, leading all quarterbacks in Expected Points Added (EPA) and success rate.

Fangio recognizes that simply assigning a spy to Jackson won't suffice. "The pure definition of a great quarterback is there's no one way to play him," he stated. Fangio emphasized the need for a versatile defensive strategy to counter Jackson's brilliance and the Ravens' robust run game.

The Dolphins' defensive approach on Sunday will hinge on pressuring Jackson without opening up rushing lanes. Jackson's completion percentage notably drops under pressure, a vulnerability Miami's defense, ranking third in quarterback pressures this year, aims to exploit.

Fangio's previous encounter with Jackson in 2021, as the head coach of the Denver Broncos, saw Jackson throwing for 316 yards and a touchdown, highlighting the challenge that awaits. With the Dolphins' preparation in full swing, Sunday's game is poised to be a tactical showdown between Fangio's defense and Jackson's multifaceted offense.

Lamar Jackson Dolphins Ravens
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