OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Michael Vick believes Lamar Jackson has a chance to end his career with the most rushing yards of any NFL quarterback.
But Vick, who set the standard for running quarterbacks in the league, did offer some advice to the Baltimore Ravens rookie quarterback: “Proceed with caution.”
Jackson won his first two NFL starts primarily with his legs, running a total of 37 times. His 26 rushes in his first start were the most by a quarterback in the Super Bowl era.
Vick thinks the optimum number of runs for Jackson is 10 or 12.
“With quarterbacks, we’re not used to getting hit all the time,” Vick told ESPN on Tuesday. “When we do it, it can either get you into the game or it can shake you up a little bit. It’s not like a guy sitting in the pocket, you run the risk of getting injured. I’m not saying that should deter Lamar or scare him; I’m just saying proceed with caution.”
Vick never ran the ball more than 15 times in a game. He had only double-digit carries in 25 of his 143 games.
But Vick acknowledged that his 873 runs took a cumulative toll on him.
“Later on in my career, I did feel it more,” said Vick, who is now the offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Legends of the Alliance of American Football. “It took a longer time for my legs to come back. Six-thousand yards are a lot, but I’m in the record books.”
Vick feels Jackson compares to him more than any other quarterback. In Vick’s view, Jackson has the same stature, speed and intangibles as him, unlike other current running quarterbacks like Cam Newton or Russell Wilson.
Jackson has a chance to play in Vick’s old stomping grounds in Atlanta on Sunday. Team sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that Joe Flacco is not expected to practice this week due to a hip injury, paving the way for Jackson to start again.
In Flacco’s absence, Jackson ran for 190 yards in his first two starts, the most by a quarterback in the Super Bowl era. Vick, who owns the record with 6,109 yards rushing by a quarterback, said Jackson has the “best chance” to finish as the the NFL’s all-time leading running quarterback.
“It will take a lot,” Vick said. “It will take a season where he rushes for 1,000 yards. It’ll take a season where he breaks an overtime run for 65 yards. All records are made to be broken.”
Vick did point out that Newton has a shot to break his record first. Newton currently has 4,737 yards rushing, which are 1,372 behind Vick.
“Cam will play for a long time, so who knows?” Vick said. “[Jackson] may be trying to break Cam’s record after Cam breaks mine. But I will be the first to do it.”
Vick sees Jackson as “a step ahead” of him as a rookie. In 2001, Vick started two games, throwing two touchdowns and three interceptions while running for 289 yards.
Leading up to the draft, Vick spoke frequently with Jackson and predicted that Baltimore would draft him. Vick hasn’t talked much to Jackson because he trusts the Ravens coaching staff.
Jackson is learning from offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg and quarterbacks coach James Urban, both of whom had the same titles in Philadelphia in 2010, when Vick was a Pro Bowl quarterback.
“I know he’s in good hands,” said Vick, who is now a TV analyst for Fox. “He’s very lucky to get that at a young age as a rookie.”