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Is there a problem with Lamar Jackson’s throwing arm?

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Senior NFL reporter Charles Robinson is joined by Jori Epstein and Charles McDonald, the latest additions to Yahoo Sports’ NFL family. Our NFL trio discuss the alarming news from Baltimore on Wednesday, as the Ravens superstar quarterback wore a sleeve over his throwing arm and didn’t attempt a pass during practice. The Ravens head coach dismissed the day off as an interview for Jackson, but our reporters aren’t buying it. Listen to 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 it, because it definitely made me frown. 25, just turned 25 in January I believe, comes out to practice today wearing a sleeve over his throwing arm. Which, beatwriters… you were both beatwriters.

Charles, you’re outside, you’re watching, you’re watching the Jets. Jori there, you watch the Cowboys, you see the quarterback come out with a sleeve over his arm and not pitch at all during the media part of practice. It will raise red flags. Well, it turns out Lamar Jackson didn’t pitch at all today in practice. And they describe it as maintenance.

John Harbaugh came out and sounded like hey, not a big deal, just sort of an in-season thing. I call [BLEEP] on that. Because he’s a 25-year-old guy, we’re two weeks into the season. It’s a bit early to do the maintenance of the throwing arm of a 25-year-old. And in a season where Lamar A, lights it up, and I’m sure he will continue to light it up.

But B, we’re also still in the throes of this surge for the next contract, which is going to be a massive deal. I’m just curious about your experience, I’ll throw it at you, Charles. Like, in your experience, no matter how the team paints it at this point, an inning is an inning and a guy not pitching on a Wednesday is always troubling to me. Especially when, as I said, 25 years old. And not someone who hasn’t started. This is not a new situation for him. You would expect this player to pitch on a Wednesday.

CHARLES MCDONALD: Yeah, that… I feel like teams aren’t, well, they’re not being honest a lot. But especially when it comes to their quarterback situations. I think they can certainly tend to throw some [BLEEP] up to you and see what you put out there.

Because I remember when I was… my first year covering the Giants was, when I came to the Daily News, Eli Manning’s last year there. And Daniel Jones had started a few games. And Daniel Jones, I think he got injured at the end of the season. And if you talked to Daniel, he would say, oh, you know, I’m fine. I’m ready to go back.

But for the rest of the team, or at least Eli and the Giants, Daniel was injured just long enough for Eli to get another home start at MetLife Stadium. 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 there.

But they gave Eli one last moment. So I don’t really think you should take teams at face value when it comes to quarterbacking stuff. Especially with Lamar on Sunday. I mean, it was probably one of the best games of his career. Throw the ball, run the ball. And for him, just showing up on the injury report or being out there without throwing definitely raises a bit of a red flag. Because it’s also one of those times where you think, well, when did this happen in the game? Because–

CHARLES ROBINSON: Right.

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

JORI EPSTEIN: Absolutely. And I think that’s– age is so important to me here. Like, 25 years old. It’s not Tom Brady at 45. Here is Tom Brady taking off on Wednesdays. One, absolutely, your body is in a different place. And two, you’ve seen so much in this league than what to expect. Your body has decades of muscle memory. But I don’t think it should happen at 25.

I mean, I spent most of my time with the Cowboys and I remember towards the end of the 2019 season, Dak had a minor shoulder injury. I think he got it against the Rams, coming into the Eagles game. And it was the first time in four seasons that he didn’t participate fully in training. And the other thing is that there are a lot of times in the league, and I guess it depends a bit, Thursday is really the busiest day in training. So if you don’t practice on Wednesday when it’s so easy to be light, then I’d be worried.

I’m also looking at Lamar’s attempts over the past two weeks. And as crazy as that game was against the Dolphins, I mean he attempted 30 passes in week one and 29 in week two, so it’s not like he’s going to throw 50 passes in a double overtime game and then need a break. So – and it’s not like it’s week 14 of the season, and you’re just trying to go all the way and you clinch your playoff spot. So I think that’s definitely unusual and not just some type of maintenance. And if it’s maintenance, what does that say about Lamar’s durability? Which, I think it has durability.