Dolphins DC: Michael Vick ‘only’ player like Lamar Jackson in last 50 years

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Published
Dec. 29, 2023 1:26 p.m. ET

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson constantly keeps opponents guessing. Count Miami Dolphins defensive coordinator Vic Fangio among them.

Ahead of Sunday’s heavyweight showdown against Baltimore, the vaunted DC laughed when asked to compare Jackson to his current-day dual-threat peers while summoning the name of the greatest running QB ever.

“Yeah, fair share of mobile quarterbacks [this season]? Yes. Then there’s Lamar Jackson,” Fangio told reporters Thursday. “He’s unlike anybody else. The only other player that’s been like him in the last 50 years is Michael Vick. He’s a tremendous player. Kudos to Ozzie [Newsome] and Eric [DeCosta] for picking him. Thirty-one other teams that passed him by are kicking themselves. He’s really improved over the years. Dynamic with the ball. Good passer. He makes their offense go.”

Fangio later inferred that Baltimore’s offense is too dynamic to put a spy on Jackson, instead feeling Miami has to “mix up” its defense.

Jackson has totaled 3,357 passing yards, 19 passing touchdowns, seven interceptions and a 97.2 passer rating this season, while completing 66.3% of his passes. He has also rushed for 786 yards and five touchdowns.

Earlier this week, Jackson became the consensus betting favorite for NFL MVP. He won the 2019 MVP while rushing for a QB-record 1,206 yards. In 2020, the Baltimore star became the first quarterback to register two 1,000-yard seasons.

Vick, of course, became the first quarterback in NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards, racking up 1,039 yards on a league-best 8.4 yards per carry for the Atlanta Falcons in 2006. He also led the NFL in yards per carry five times throughout his career. The four-time Pro Bowler remains the all-time leader in rushing yards for a quarterback (6,109), though Jackson could pass him as soon as next season (5,223). 

Does Lamar Jackson, Ravens, or Tua, Dolphins have the edge in Week 17?

Baltimore enters Week 17 at 12-3 and in sole possession of the No. 1 seed in the AFC (and the best record in the NFL). Miami holds the conference’s No. 2 seed at 11-4 and will have Tua Tagovailoa (thumb) behind center for Week 17 but will be without wide receiver Jaylen Waddle (ankle). 

Jackson & Co. are set to take on a frisky Miami defense, which is surrendering just 205.7 passing yards (10th in NFL), 90.8 rushing yards (fifth), 296.5 total yards (third) and 20.9 points (13th) per game. Defensive linemen Christian Wilkins and Zach Sieler, linebacker Bradley Chubb and defensive backs Jalen Ramsey and Xavien Howard are among the many vaunted faces Jackson will face.

Last season, the two teams put together a dramatic affair in Baltimore, as the Dolphins pulled off a 21-point fourth-quarter comeback to win.

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