Lamar Jackson's meteoric rise to superstardom has been fueled in large part due to Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh's willingness to alter his team's identity to best cater to the young quarterback's unique skill set.
Harbaugh's bold approach paid off big time last year. Jackson earned the MVP award and broke the single-season quarterback rushing record, and the Ravens won a league-high 14 regular-season games.
Despite only being together for two seasons, Jackson knows he has a kindred spirit in Harbaugh.
"I feel like I have a great relationship with coach Harbaugh because we both want to win," Jackson told Dan Pompei of The Athletic on Tuesday. "We both are competitive. We hate losing. I think you need that in a quarterback-and-coach relationship … We both don't take any crap. That's what I see in coach Harbaugh, and that's why I love him so much because every time we talk, there's something with him competing. He's always competing."
The trust between Jackson and Harbaugh was sparked by the head coach's decision to bench Joe Flacco in favor of the then-first-year quarterback midway through 2018. Jackson immediately proved Harbaugh right, leading Baltimore to a 6-1 finish and the AFC North title.
"Back in my rookie season, he had faith in me to go out there and play," Jackson said. "They put me out there, as a rookie with no games under (my) belt, to try to lead this team to the playoffs. And we end up going to the playoffs my rookie season. Just him having faith in me, that's why I trust him so much."
Jackson and Harbaugh will likely be heading into this season with extra motivation after their 2019 campaign ended with a double-digit loss to the 10-point underdog Tennessee Titans in the divisional round. It was the duo's second straight immediate playoff exit.
The reigning MVP admitted in June that the Ravens underestimated the Titans and were guilty of "peeking ahead" to future postseason opponents.