But the Baltimore Ravens want their rookie first-round pick to quickly improve in one area — reducing his turnovers.
Jackson has turned the ball over four times in beating the Cincinnati Bengals, Oakland Raiders and Atlanta Falcons. In Sunday’s 26-16 win in Atlanta, Jackson fumbled three times, losing one (which was returned 74 yards for a touchdown).
“I’d like to see us protect the football a little bit better than we have in the last few weeks,” coach John Harbaugh said. “That’ll be really critical in this game, I think, the turnovers, both ways. Those are some things to work on, too.”
Jackson has fumbled five times in 54 rushes, which are the most in the NFL since Week 11. The only other players who’ve fumbled four times are: Matt Ryan, Chase Daniel and Marcus Mariota.
How does Jackson reduce his fumbling?
“Hold on to the ball tight,” Jackson said. “The ball hit my thigh [last game] — I fumbled. One, I’m trying to keep the ball in my hands, break out the pocket — no fumble. We can’t have those. We just can’t be risking that down the field. That’s a great team we’re about to play, and we’re just going to try to do a good job and keep the ball in our hands.”
Jackson fumbled 17 times (losing seven) in his final two seasons at Louisville. That was tied for the third most in the NCAA over that time.
Harbaugh said Jackson practices ball-handling drills with quarterbacks coach James Urban during every practice, from the exchanges with running backs to protecting the ball when scrambling.
“Those are fundamental drills you work at every day in practice and emphasize all the time,” Harbaugh said. “You just continue to do that, probably at an even more heightened level.”cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale
With Joe Flacco dealing with a hip injury, Jackson has helped turn around Baltimore’s season. He became the fifth rookie quarterback since 2001 to win his first three starts, joining Ben Roethlisberger, (2004), Craig Krenzel (2004), Mark Sanchez (2009) and Carson Wentz (2016). With Jackson, the Ravens are averaging 238.8 yards rushing per game, which leads the league.
The challenge is to cut down on the costly errors. Jackson acknowledges he has to correct his mistakes and also not dwell on them for too long.
“Sometimes, I don’t even remember the great things that happen,” Jackson said. “I just always focus on the bad things, because I want to make it great. I don’t think about it like, ‘Man, I messed up. Keep it pounding.’ I think about it, I’ll forget about it, but at the same time, it’s always in my mind.”