Cam Newton on Lamar Jackson’s impact: ‘I don’t even think I’m in that stratosphere’
Real recognizes real and, in terms of prolific mobile quarterbacks, it doesn’t get much realer than Cam Newton and Lamar Jackson.
The glare of their upcoming prime time clash is bright, but it didn’t prevent either from praising the talent of the other ahead of Sunday night.
Up first was Jackson, who called the former NFL Most Valuable Player, amongst other things, “the O.G. — Superman.” On Thursday, it was Newton who broke down how much he respects and admires the reigning MVP’s game.
“Man, my boy Lamar got a gear not many human beings got. And just to see him take off, I mean, I’m a fan of the game and if I’m watching Baltimore, obviously, I’m watching to see what the MVP is going to do,” the Patriots QB said. “I think for a long time, and still to date, a lot of people do not respect the art of being able to run and protect yourself and to attack the defenses in many different ways. Not taking anything against anybody who can not or does not decide to run but, for him to be as successful and to make the impact, the big splash in this game, you know, not many people have done it.
“I say Michael Vick, I say Lamar, I don’t even think I’m in that stratosphere but for him to be as dominant, dynamic, explosive at the quarterback position is something that just gives so much opportunity to the younger generation to be able to see what Lamar Jackson is doing and to get hope to say I can play the quarterback position too.”
Mentioning Vick and Jackson in the same breath was commonplace in 2019 when the dynamic Ravens QB was setting the NFL ablaze with feats not seen since the former Falcons and Eagles star. A quick look at the numbers shows how crazy Jackson’s rise has been, especially considering where he was just two years ago.
When Newton and Jackson last shared a field in 2018, many regarded the then-Panthers QB to still be in a league of his own. That Week 8 clash in Carolina — a 36-21 Panthers win — saw Jackson, still serving in a QB2 role, close the game in garbage time after being used sparingly in special packages. Newton, meanwhile, turned in one of his better games of that season.
Fast forward to 2020, and the Jackson we see today is the type of player Newton said he saw flashes of in 2015. Jackson made his collegiate debut that year when Louisville began its season against Auburn, Newton’s alma mater.
“I was looking and I was like, ‘Man, who in the world is this kid flying around?’ I didn’t know who he was, but he was making plays. Like, he was so electric,” Newton recalled thinking at the time.
Similar to the QBs themselves, the Ravens and Pats sit on different ends of the spectrum entering Week 10, but the goal of both players will be to build off their previous week of success using skills few outside of them possess. For Newton, it’ll be his first real look at the man that’s cited him as an inspiration on more than one occasion.
“For him and anybody else, the young guns in this league, man, I always wanted to use my services [in] any way, shape, form possible and for him to say those words to me, it’s pretty cool,” Newton said. “But yet, he’s a person who has took this league by storm and especially, you know, early on the doubt that came with it. We all can relate to being second guessed, questioned. ‘Can he play?’ ‘He got bust written all over him,’ and things like that. And, for him to succeed through it all, makes him the true underdog story that we all love to root for.”