Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is on track for his second MVP award, and one reason why is the old coaching saw that “the best ability is availability.”

In both 2021 and 2022, Jackson’s year ended early due to injury, and the Ravens could not continue their winning ways without their best offensive weapon. With Jackson on the field in those years, the Ravens were 15-9. Without him, they were 3-7.

This season Jackson has started 16 of the team’s 17 games, his only absence coming in Week 18 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, a coach’s decision with the No. 1 seed in the AFC and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs locked up. The Ravens ended the regular season with a record of 13-4.

Of course, health doesn’t tell the full story. Jackson has become a very efficient passer, throwing for the most yards and highest completion percentage in his six-year career. And while first-year coordinator Todd Monken has asked Jackson to throw a career-high 457 pass attempts, the 27-year-old has still managed to create plays on the ground with his elite scrambling ability without taking any big shots.

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In an interview released Monday by the “Let’s Go!” podcast hosted by NFL legend Tom Brady and veteran journalist Jim Gray, Jackson said one of the biggest evolutions in his game has been going through his reads downfield and taking what the defense gives him rather than instinctively tucking the ball and running. When he does take off, he’s mindful of conserving his body.

“I just try to make something happen but play it safe at the same time,” he said.

Brady, who most believe is the GOAT at the quarterback position, praised Jackson’s twitch and burst, which make it hard for would-be tacklers “to get a clean shot.” He was also heartened to hear the Ravens’ signal-caller understands the risk and reward of exposing himself in the open field.

“I tell that to Josh [Allen] when I talk to him, and when I see a lot of guys, too,” Brady said. “I do want to see the quarterbacks protect themselves a little bit more, because it just takes one hit on your shoulder.”

Then the 46-year-old dropped some GOAT wisdom, telling Jackson how he saw many players who would only focus on continuing to develop their strengths — such as fast receivers who would only want to continue to develop their speed instead of their route-running or strong linemen who would work on getting even stronger instead of how well they bend.

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“Everyone knows what you can do in your strengths,” he explained. “And my view is like, ‘Great, what are our weaknesses? What do we have to improve on? What parts of our game do we always have to make a little bit better?’'

Because people understand your strengths,” he continued. “They also see, OK, well these are the areas we think that can slow him down.’ And I think for you to stay ahead everybody, you have to go, ‘OK, this is what they’re thinking; this is what I got to spend my time and energy on.’ ”

Jackson said he still has a chip on his shoulder after so many pundits early on in his career predicted he could not play quarterback at the pro level. And he’s still hungry to win a Super Bowl.

“That’s the accolade I really want, so bad,” he said.

A championship is something he’s been chasing since his high school days in Boynton Beach, Florida and his college career at Louisville.

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“But since I didn’t complete those two, I got to complete this one,” he said.

To hear more from Jackson on the role his mother played in his life, his relationship with coach John Harbaugh, and the music he’s listening to in preparation for the playoffs, check out the episode of the “Let’s Go!” podcast here.

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