The vaunted Patriots defense will face an intriguing test Sunday night when it squares off against Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson.
The 22-year old Jackson currently ranks 10th in the NFL with 576 rushing yards, making headlines during his two-year career for his unique dual-threat ability at the position.
Ahead of Sunday’s primetime matchup, Jackson joined NBC’s Mike Tirico on the Mike Tirico Podcast to discuss the upcoming game against the Patriots, the quarterbacks he admires most, his relationship with his mom, and more.
Here are a few takeaways from the 1-on-1 conversation between Jackson and Tirico.
Jackson said he looks up to some of the league’s best quarterbacks, including Tom Brady. When Tirico asked him whom he admires most, Jackson highlighted Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, Tom Brady, and Patrick Mahomes.
He discussed Rodgers’ advancement and athleticism, saying, “He’s been doing it a long time. Not as long as Brady,” before shifting the conversation to the six-time Super Bowl champion.
Tirico pointed out that Jackson and Brady have different styles of play, but Jackson offered high remarks about Brady.
“It’s just his poise in the pocket,” Jackson said in the exclusive interview airing on NBC’s Football Night in America. “He just looks like he’s so relaxed, like he’s on vacation. He just picks defenses apart and I want to be on that level. I admire that.”
Jackson acknowledged that Brady has the “G.O.A.T.” title and reflected that he was 5 years old when Brady won his first Super Bowl in 2002.
“That’s dope,” Jackson said about facing Brady and the Patriots. “He’s [Brady] still young. The only thing going up is his age, a number. Everything else, he still looks the same. It’s going to be pretty cool after the game, but you know before the game I’m trying to win. I’m focused on winning, I’m not focused on Brady. I’m focused on winning and going 6-2.”
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is known for taking away whatever the opponent does best, and on Sunday, that could mean loading the box against Jackson and forcing him to beat the Patriots with his arm. Tirico asked Jackson about that scenario.
“I’m going to do it, definitely,” Jackson said about throwing against a stacked box. “I’m going to play pitch and catch like we in the backyard if I got to. I’m going to play ball.”
You can listen to the rest of the 21-minute podcast, which will also air on Football Night in America, here.
Kickoff between the Patriots and Ravens on Sunday is scheduled for 8:20 p.m.
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