Is Joe Flacco Being Overused?

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Last season, as a rookie, almost everyone agreed that Joe Flacco had a great year.  He managed games, he got wins and he almost led he team to a Super Bowl.  All in his first season.  With that came big expectations, and this year he has filled them, minus the winning games part the last three weeks.  I just got to thinking, he’s passed the ball so many times this season, could we compare this to when a running back gets overused?

  • Junior Year: Delaware-264 completions out of 417 attempts.  That’s a lot of attempts for an FCS quarterback who is starting his first year.  Maybe his arm would get a little worn down?
  • Senior Year: Delaware-331 completions out of 521 attempts, with 23 TD and 4,263 yards.  From his line from his record-setting senior year that made him a first round pick, you could gather that his arm wasn’t getting worn down much at all.
  • Offseason after Senior Year-repetitive throwing exercises, countless workouts, draft events, competitions, Senior Bowl, NFL Combine, countless other draft ‘showcases’ for his arm. Flacco’s senior year didn’t seem to carry over and wear out his arm during draft workouts because his arm strength and endurance was the main attribute that catapulted him into the first round
  • Preseason of Rookie Year-mini-camps, rookie camps, training camp, preseason games, conditioning programs, arm-focused muscular training. After a attempt-filled senior year, a very strenuous draft program and just the normal arm exercises he does, Flacco had to go to training camp and be in other specialized camps for rookies, quarterbacks and skill players.  Coming to the NFL from a smaller program, he had to do even more to get associated with a pro style offense.
  • Rookie Season with Ravens-257 completions out of 428 attempts. Flacco showed his arm was still capable, starting 16 games and throwing the ball deep many times.  Against Indianapolis, he threw the ball 38 times, looked solid, and the next three weeks looked very, very good.
  • Offseason/Preseason before this season-Training camps, mini-camps, limited preseason action.  This preseason was much less strenuous, with Flacco being fresh without draft workouts and not being the only available quarterback in the preseason.  Big expectations were out for him, and Cam Cameron looked to fill them.
  • Sophomore Season with Ravens-145 completions out of 225 attempts through 6 games. Flacco’s arm has been golden this season, with three 300-yard games and already 11 touchdowns, with at least one every game. The scary thing is, he’s had three games with over 40 attempts, and his lowest is 26 attempts.  He’s averaging 37.6 attempts a game, which is almost two more than his average in his senior year.  

After looking at all those statistics broken down by year, you can see that Flacco’s arm has not worn down at all yet, but this season he’s on a pace to set a Ravens record and personal record for attempts, along with practicing more attempts in practice each day. Even with the success he’s had, Cam Cameron and Coach Harbaugh need to remember that he’s this team’s future, and he’s only in his second year.  Larry Johnson’s career was flushed down the toilet after getting too many carries, hopefully the same trend isn’t there for quarterbacks.

There will be a preview and predictions tomorrow, and this week I will definitely post more often.