Planning for Lamar Jackson Not An Easy Task for Steelers

Pittsburgh signs former South Dakota State star to help

Josh Rowntree
October 02, 2019 - 3:22 pm

The Steelers have seen Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson before, but certainly not like this. 

Jackson, after spending both matchups against Pittsburgh last season as Joe Flacco’s rookie backup, has blossomed into a legitimate starter and, at times, dominant force at the quarterback position. 

“We’ve seen some of Lamar Jackson, but we hadn’t seen the totality of it in the ways a lot of people have,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday. “Looking at the tape, obviously it’s grown and he’s experiencing the natural maturation process that you expect from guys from year one to year two. He’s doing an awesome job of administering the offense.” 

“The offense is really challenging, quite frankly, because it stresses you in a lot of ways. He’s got the type of speed and agility that really stresses the defense on the perimeter, so we’ve got to do a great job of constricting and containing what they’re capable of doing on the perimeter.”

Last season, in the first meeting — a 26-14 Ravens victory in Pittsburgh — Jackson ran the ball four times for just 17 yards. 

In the rematch, which Pittsburgh took in Baltimore, 23-17, Jackson ran five times for only ten yards. He completed the only pass he threw for 12 yards. 

The Steelers no longer have backup quarterback Joshua Dobbs, who was able to do some similar things to Jackson and show the defense the unique looks that Baltimore will deploy Sunday. 

Therefore, Pittsburgh on Wednesday signed former Cowboys, Seahawks and South Dakota State quarterback Taryn Christion, who ran a sub-4.5 40-yard dash after throwing for over 13,000 yards in his collegiate career. 

“I’m a mobile quarterback and we’re playing the Ravens, Lamar Jackson,” Christion said. “I’m just running around a little bit, slinging things on scout team a little bit.”

Pittsburgh, at least this week, will have four quarterbacks on the practice field, not including injured starter Ben Roethlisberger. 

But Mason Rudolph, Devlin Hodges and practice squad arm Paxton Lynch do not have the dynamic running ability of Lamar Jackson. Christion is at least in the ballpark. 

“You can’t really replicate, but you can get as close as possible,” cornerback Mike Hilton said. “Having a guy that moves around, able to keep plays going, that’s going to be big for us. We have to have good rush lanes and have to try to keep (Jackson) in the pocket."