Is there an issue with Lamar Jackson’s throwing arm? | You Pod to Win the Game

Senior NFL Reporter Charles Robinson is joined by Jori Epstein and Charles McDonald, the newest additions to the Yahoo Sports’ NFL family. Our NFL trio discusses the alarming news out of Baltimore on Wednesday, as the Ravens superstar quarterback wore a sleeve on his throwing arm, and did not attempt any passes during practice. Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh dismissed the day off as maintenance for Jackson, but our reporters aren’t buying it. Hear the full conversation on the You Pod to Win the Game podcast. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you listen.

Video transcript

CHARLES ROBINSON: Lamar Jackson. So today I wanted to talk about this, because it definitely raised my eyebrow. 25 years old, just turned 25 in January, I believe, goes out to practice today wearing a sleeve on his throwing arm. Which, beat writers-- you've both been beat writers.

Charles, you're out there, you look, you're watching the Jets. Jori out there, you're watching the Cowboys, you see the quarterback come out with a sleeve on his arm and then not throw at all during the media portion of practice. It's gonna raise some red flags. Well, Lamar Jackson, it turns out, did not throw at all today in practice. And they are painting this as maintenance.

John Harbaugh came out and made it sound like hey, not a big deal, just sort of an in-season type of thing. I call [BLEEP] on that. Because this is a 25-year-old guy, we're two weeks into the season. It's a little early to already be doing maintenance on a 25-year old's throwing arm. And in a season where Lamar A, is lighting it up, and I'm sure will continue to light it up.

But B, also we're still in the throes of this surge for the next contract, which is going to be a massive deal. I'm just curious in your experience, I'll throw it to you, Charles. Like, in your experience, no matter how the team paints it at this point, a sleeve is a sleeve and a guy not throwing on a Wednesday is to me always going to be troubling. Particularly when, as I said, 25. And not someone who hasn't been the starter. This isn't a new situation for him. You would expect that player to be out throwing on a Wednesday.

CHARLES MCDONALD: Yeah, this-- I feel like teams are not, well, they're not honest a lot of times. But especially when it comes to their quarterback situations. I think they can definitely tend to throw some [BLEEP] at you and see what you put out there.

Because I remember when I was-- my first year covering the Giants was, when I got to the Daily News, was Eli Manning's last year there. And Daniel Jones had started some games. And Daniel Jones, I think he had some injury at the end of the season. And if you talk to Daniel he would say, oh, you know, I'm fine. I'm ready to go back out there.

But for the rest of the team, or at least for Eli and the Giants, Daniel was hurt just long enough for Eli to get one more home start at MetLife Stadium. Which I think they won against the Miami Dolphins that year. So I think in a normal world where that-- you didn't have a legend sitting behind you, maybe Daniel could have been out there.

But they gave Eli one last moment. So I don't really think you should take teams at face value at all when it comes to quarterback stuff. Especially with Lamar on Sunday. I mean, that was probably one of the best games of his career. Throwing the ball, running the ball. And for him to just kind of pop up on the injury report or to be out there not throwing definitely raises a little bit of a red flag. Because it's also one of those moments where you think like, well, when did that happen in the game? Because--

CHARLES ROBINSON: Right.

CHARLES MCDONALD: --really at no point did you show that you were hurt, because you absolutely tortured Dolphins for four quarters.

JORI EPSTEIN: Absolutely. And I think that's-- the age is so key to me here. Like, 25. He's not Tom Brady at 45. Here's Tom Brady taking off Wednesdays. One, absolutely, your body is in a different place. And two, you've seen so much in this league that what to anticipate. Your body's got decades of muscle memory. But I don't think this should be happening at 25.

I mean, I spent most of my time with the Cowboys and I remember toward the end of the 2019 season, Dak got a bit of a shoulder injury. I think he got it against the Rams, right, going into the Eagles game. And that was the first time in four seasons that he hadn't fully participated in practices. And the other thing is a lot of times around the league, and I guess it depends a little bit, Thursday is really the heavy day in practice. So if you're not practicing Wednesday when it's so easy to be light, then I would be concerned.

I'm also looking at Lamar's attempts the last two weeks. And as crazy as that game was against the Dolphins, I mean, he attempted 30 passes Week One and 29 Week Two, so it's not like he's going out there throwing 50 passes in some double overtime game and then needing a break. So-- and it's not like it's Week 14 of the season, and you're just trying to get till the end and you clinch your playoff spot. So I think it is definitely unusual and not just a maintenance type of thing. And if it is maintenance, what does that say about Lamar's durability? Which, I think he's got durability.