Other Opinions: John Clayton


NFL Insider John Clayton, who closely resembles a certain cartoon character, has written an article on ESPN analyzing every NFL QB for this season.

Lucky news for us Ravens fans, he has Joe Flacco ranked in the Elite QB category along with Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, and Aaron Rodgers. He’s named 13 QBs to the Elite list and Flacco is number 11 before Matt Schaub and Josh Freeman. He says that the arrow is pointing up for Flacco, meaning he’s still getting better and he also had this to say:

"Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron is supposed to unleash a new Joe Flacco, one who will have more chances to go downfield and carry the team with his arm. Last year, the Ravens ran 23.8 plays a game out of two-back formations, but the addition of Lee Evans at split end and maybe Torrey Smith running some long routes could open up the offense a little more."

Read the rest of the article here and read what I have to say about it after the jump.

Now I’ve had a lot of opinions on this subject for a while now and the conversation on 105.7 The Fan last night prompted even more opinions from me. For some reason, people outside of Baltimore just general football fans and sports journalists and the like are all for Flacco. Most of them think he’s great, he’s the answer for this team, and there’s a good chance he will take this team to the Super Bowl and even win one for Charm City. On the other hand, a lot if not most people inside the city, a lot of Ravens fans, do not think that Flacco is the answer. They have no confidence in him and don’t like him.

There may be some justification for the differences because Ravens fans watch every second of every game. They see every snap, every bad read of defense, and every time he could have made a better play but didn’t think smart and took a sack for loss of yardage instead. Whereas general football fans don’t see as much. They see highlights and stats and take it from there. I get that.

But Baltimore fans should have seen enough. Please understand all of the following: he took over his rookie year and has played 3 straight seasons without missing one snap of a single game. He has lead the Ravens to three straight 12-4 seasons, three straight playoff appearances, and three straight playoff wins including going to the AFC Championship his rookie season. That’s never been done in NFL history. To top it off, he came out of Delaware, not exactly a school known as a good football program. He’s won 4 playoff games in 3 years. All 4 games have been road playoff games. And he hasn’t even hit his prime yet. A QB’s prime is usually considered 27-30 years old. He’s 26. Yes I know he’s not perfect. He hasn’t beaten Roethlisberger in the regular season. He can’t beat Pittsburgh in the post season. He makes bad decisions sometimes such as taking a sack when he can throw the ball out of bounds. He does look awkward in the pocket. However, haven’t you all noticed an improvement every year? Because I sure have. Look at the stats.

In 2008, his rookie year, he threw for 2,971 yards, 14 TDs, 12 INT, and had a QB rating of 80.3 along with 2 playoff wins.
In 2009, he threw for 3,613 yards, 21 TDs, 12 INT, and had a QB rating of 88.9 with a playoff win against the Patriots, who were heavily favored.
In 2010, he threw for 3,622 yards, 25 TD, 10 INT, and had a QB rating of 93.6 with another road playoff win.

It’s clear how much he’s improved. His TD-to-INT ratio was one of the best last season. I think it was actually 2nd to Tom Brady’s who was just ridiculous (36-to-4). He’s the best QB Baltimore has ever seen by far and I believe he can and will take this team to the Super Bowl and win a Super Bowl.

Everyone in Baltimore needs to relax. There’s other positions you should be worrying about such as the O-line instead of worrying about Flacco. He is the perfect QB for this team and can carry this team. He will beat Roethlisberger week one because of all the hype and trash-talking that’s been going on. He has confidence in himself and will do it. If you watched last week’s preseason game against the Redskins, he made some very good heads up plays like throwing the ball out of bounds or getting it to a receiver right before he was sacked. Relax. Flacco is our guy. Look to teams like Carolina, Cincinnati, and Seattle. Now I bet Flacco is looking pretty damn good to you, huh?