When linebacker Patrick Queen said after the Ravens’ loss in the AFC championship that he was playing for quarterback Lamar Jackson, hoping to change some of the narratives about him, the news brought out Jackson’s supporters — and a storm of criticism.

Detractors pointed out Jackson’s postseason record and stats. But on Monday, those who saw him every day in the locker room and on the field expressed nothing but love and support for their quarterback.

View post on X

“We all know that he’s the best player in this league,” safety Kyle Hamilton said as players cleaned out their lockers Monday.

There’s a different perception of Jackson because of the way he plays, but also because of how he carries himself, outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney said. His down-to-earth, goofy nature is beloved by his teammates as much as his leadership.

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.

“[He’s] a different guy, but he practiced hard, he’s a leader regardless of what anyone thinks,” Clowney said. “[He has] fun [and has] a good personality. I love to be around him. Everybody in the locker room can vouch for that, we love to be around the guy. He’s just fun. It’s not all [that it] looks [like] all of the times, and people are regular people at the end of the day. Lamar is a great dude to hang out with. I love him regardless of how that game shook out.”

View post on X

In a 17-10 win, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes was sharper with his throws and didn’t turn the ball over, punching his ticket to his fourth Super Bowl. While all the Ravens players had things they wish they could fix, Jackson had one of his worst performances of the season. He finished with his third-worst quarterback rating (75.5), his worst completion percentage (54.1%), and two turnovers.

As tight end Charlie Kolar said before the playoffs, this team rises and falls with Jackson.

Jackson said he was angry after the game. He was one of the last players out of the locker room Sunday — he and Queen were talking when the media was ushered out — and he did not show up Monday to the portion of the locker room clean-out open to reporters.

Amid the anger, disappointment and frustration, his teammates did not lose sight of the fact the team made history, bringing the AFC championship to Baltimore for the first time since 1971 when the Baltimore Colts hosted. They also took a step back to appreciate the big picture.

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.

“I know there’s something special here,” right tackle Morgan Moses said. “Something special that’s in the making. Anytime you have a quarterback like Lamar, you have that opportunity to play in games like this. And I think guys know that. Guys feel that. What we did in year one with a new offensive coordinator and things like that on the offensive side, it can only go up.”

The team has more than 20 players headed into free agency this offseason. With little cap space — Jackson’s new contract kicks in next year — it’s unlikely all the key contributors can return. But the fact the Ravens have Jackson is enough to give players hope this team will make it back to this stage for a chance to push toward the Super Bowl.

“I think anytime you have No. 8 at quarterback, you’ve got a shot,” outside linebacker Kyle Van Noy said.

Right guard Kevin Zeitler added that he knows Jackson, the presumptive favorite for Most Valuable Player honors, will only improve from here.

“Lamar’s the man,” Zeitler said. “He’s the leader of this team. He’s fiery. He cares more than anyone. It’s very obvious when you watch it. He cares more than anyone. No matter what people say, I know he’s going to be back, ready to work when it’s time, take us all the way.”

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.