Baltimore Ravens’ starting Quarterback Joe Flacco is entering his seventh season with the team but never during his career with the Ravens has he looks as good as he has this pre-season.
I have long been a critic of Joe Flacco. I criticize him because, as talented as he is, he has never risen above the level of being an “average” regular or post season signal caller. With his talent, he should be better.
A quick comparison of Joe Flacco’s career numbers with those of Phillip Rivers, Tony Romo, Matt Ryan Ben Roethlisberger and Matthew Stafford will confirm this statement. Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Aaron Rogers are clearly out of Joe’s class statistically, so comparing their numbers to Joe’s would only make him look worse. Flacco is clearly in the group I used to make my comparison.
When Flacco’s numbers are compared to Rivers, Romo, Ryan and the rest of that group, only Matthew Stafford has a lower Passer Rating (83.7 for Flacco and 83.1 for Stafford) and Completion Percentage (60.2 for Flacco and 59.5 for Stafford). Flacco has the lowest average number of touchdown passes per year (Romo 26, Ryan 26, Rivers 22, Roethlisberger 22, Stafford 22 and Flacco 20) and averages the most fumbles.
In spite of his brilliant performance in the 2012 playoffs and Super Bowl, his playoff numbers are “average” as well. His post season Passer Rating, including his 2012 performances, is 86.2 and his pass completion rate is 55.5 percent. He averaged 1 ½ touchdown passes per game (i.e, three TDs every two games), in spite of the Ravens winning playoff record.
In the playoffs, as in the regular season, Flacco did not “carry the team”, the Baltimore Ravens carried Joe Flacco. However, the 2014 version of Joe Flacco is something to behold.
This year, Joe Flacco has a demeanor and self confidence that seems more solid and real than I’ve seen in his six plus years as a Raven. He looks refreshed, relaxed and in control. The game seems to be fun for him and he is embracing it as never before.
Flacco’s rejuvenation has affected every facet of his play. His command of the huddle appears to be crisp and strong. He takes control at the line of scrimmage and leaves no doubt that he is in command. Although I have always had doubts about Flacco and remained unimpressed with his performance through last year; I am totally “on board” this year.
Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak really seems to have had a very positive effect on Joe. Joe seems to go through his progressions with greater efficiency and appears more decisive. He gets rid of the ball faster, is quicker in his drops, has gotten better at reading defenses and is more accurate.
However, the most dramatic change in Joe Flacco’s game has been his footwork. Prior to this year, Flacco’s footwork reminded me of a construction worker with gum on the soles of his shoes. But this year, his footwork looks more like that of Johnny Unitas or Peyton Manning. His renewal is a great sign that Flacco still has a lot of “up side” and he is ready to lead the Baltimore Ravens to the Super Bowl once again.
Watching Joe Flacco this preseason has made me excited. It has made me excited about the prospects for this year and for the future of the Baltimore Ravens. It has made me excited because I am watching Joe Flacco take his game to the next level and blossom as an NFL Quarterback. I am excited because I honestly believe Joe Flacco can and will be the NFL’s next “great” Quarterback.
Gary Kubiak’s new Offense seems perfect for Joe. The offensive talent General Manager Ozzie Newsome has assembled is impressive and should make Joe’s job a lot easier. If Joe performs at this high level all season, he might be adding another car to his collection and bringing another Lombardi Trophy back to Baltimore.