I've said since the beginning of the year that I'm not buying the Lamar Jackson hype, and I'm not buying the Kyler Murray hype, either. I know they are really special athletes, and they're a couple of the best running backs in the league, but they limit their offenses.
The problem with Jackson is related to something McDermott (and plenty of other coaches) say all the time: You have to force the opponent to defend the entire field - sideline to sideline and line of scrimmage to the goal line. The reason is simple: If you can threaten to strike anyplace on the field, the defense has to spread out to defend all those places. When the defense spreads out, they create holes for the offense to attack.
You could see the problem almost immediately last night. One on side of the ball was a team, the Chiefs, that is perhaps the best in the league at attacking the whole field. They will hurt you anyplace you leave unprotected. The Ravens started out playing the game no more than 30 yards downfield, and as the game progress, they didn't even threaten that deep. The defense tightened and tightened. Sure, Jackson kept getting himself some nice runs here and there, but they essentially give up the ability to get 100-200 passing downfield to get an extra 50 or 100 out of Jackson. That's a bad trade.
The other thing that was apparent is that to be a premier QB, you MUST be able to stand in the pocket and direct the attack. You can't run an effective, all-over-the-field passing attack from outside the hash marks. Why? Because you can't threaten deep passes down the right side if your QB is standing outside the left hashmark. (Well, you can if your QB is Josh Allen, but that's something else.) Your QB has to be able to stand in, see the entire field, make decisions, and then make throws. Jackson couldn't do that last night. If he's going to make it, he has a lot of work to do as a pocket passer. But even that may not be enough, because if you're going to feature your QB running the ball, you need your receiver to stay shallow to block for him. So in your regular offense, your receivers aren't running deep routes, so the deep threat isn't there.
It was all pretty obvious watching last night. Mahomes stands in the pocket, makes decisions and makes throws. Jackson doesn't. Jackson will not be a premier QB if he doesn't learn to play that traditional QB game. He's way, way behind Josh Allen in developing those skills. Allen plays much more like Mahomes than like Jackson. McBeane have always said he was going to be a pocket passer. They've been working on making him one since he arrived in Buffalo. Baltimore went down the other road, building an offense that plays to Jackson's strengths, but that is an offense that by definition is limited. I think they're wasting their time. Jackson will hurt some teams sometimes, he'll force your defense to play a different style than their used to, but at the end of the season, Baltimore's offense will limit their ability to win big games.
Finally, to bring it back to Allen and the Bills, Mahomes wasn't doing anything last night that Allen doesn't do. Allen has the better arm, clearly, Mahomes is more poised and more able to attack weaknesses consistently - that's clear too. What's so encouraging is that Allen can learn to be a great field general, but good as Mahomes arm is, he can't learn to throw like Josh.
Bills are heading down the right road.