Ok, Lets start up a new daily series. This time I am going to take a look at what we can realistically expect from the Ravens expected starting lineup player by player. Today I am going to start with the most clear cut starter on the team with Joe Flacco. This list will progress from the most likely starter and then decend towards the guys who will have to compete for their jobs and then down to the positions that are completely up for grabs. ideally, when i get to those lower tier spots we will have more information about who the most likely starters are. here we go!
Flacco has established a clear floor for himself in nearly ever category. in passing yards that floor is about 3700 yards. this year, I would be shocked if he doesnt clear 4000. last year Flacco fell 125 yards short of 4000, but he only played about a quarter of the week 17 game against the bengals, had he played the entire thing, he should have easily cleared that mark. I would put the over under on yards for Flacco in the new Jim Caldwell offense to be about 4300.
Prediction: 4450 yards.
Again, Flacco has a clear floor here of about 25 touchdowns. Again, this number should improve. In Jim Caldwells offense, the Ravens will be running more no huddle and shotgun than they ever did under Cam Cameron. Flacco has clearly shown that he is far more comfortable and far more productive in that formation and style of play. in 5 complete games under Caldwell, flacco threw 14 TDs. That is just under 3 per game. Exteded over a season that would be just over 44 TDs. I dont think Flacco will get that far, but he should get well over 25. I put the over under at 30.
Prediction: 34 TDs.
Game winning drives
Flacco has been good for a fe game winners every year since he was drafted. most memorably he had two game winning throws against the Steelers in Pittsburgh, one to TJ Houshmazedah and another to Torrey Smith(technically he threw 2 to smith but Smith dropped the first). Flacco was credited with 4 last year, 3 in 2011 and 5 in 2010, that sets an easy average of 4, so lets put the over under right at 4.
Flacco has never been an interception machine and has never thrown more than 13 in a season. that number is particularly impressive because he has played his entire career in the least imaginative offense in the NFL and has played with a whole bunch of WRs with no clue on how to create separation and get open. both of those things should change this year, but I dont expect his INT numbers to fall dramatically or anything. over under at 12 but I think he goes slightly over because of some growing pains in the new offense and the likelihood that he throws more often. One interesting sidenote, Flacco has not thrown an INT on a pass over 20 yards in over 3 years. he has only thrown one redzone INT in the past 2 seasons. both are far and away the longest streaks in the league.
This should be a big year for flacco. he lost Boldin, but he is gaining an offense that has made countless mediocre WRs into stars so that more or less levels out. I would expect Flacco to struggle a bit for the first 5 or 6 weeks of the season, but by the end of the year he will be playing at a level expected of top 5 QBs.