Comments made this week by former Raven Ray Lewis questioned Joe Flacco’s passion for the game of football:
Joe Flacco is never one to make the news off the field, but this week was different. On the Fox Sports 1 show “Speak For Yourself” former Ravens linebacker and future hall-of-famer Ray Lewis questioned Flacco’s passion.
"“Gifted? Absolutely. Passionate about what he do? I’ve never seen that.”"
Per Ravens ESPN reporter Jamison Hensley, when asked about the comments made by Lewis, Flacco said:
"“It’s a little surprising coming from Ray,” Flacco said after Friday’s practice. “But it’s been something I’ve dealt with probably back before high school. It’s just part of my personality. When things are going good, it’s questioned as if it’s a good thing. When things aren’t going as well as you might like them to be, it’s always a question as to whether is my personality is that of one fits what an NFL quarterback should be. It’s not anything I’m not used to. But it is a little bit different coming from Ray.”"
Flacco and Lewis spent five season together in Baltimore, so these comments came as a surprise. The two won a Super-Bowl in 2012 and had a memorable run that featured Flacco’s best play of his career. He threw 12 touchdowns to an astounding 0 interceptions. On top of that he also outplayed Peyton Manning and Tom Brady on the road.
While I respect the comments made by Lewis, I will have to disagree with him. Joe Flacco definitely has passion, but he shows it in a completely different way. The quarterback has been one of the Raven’s most reliable players in recent years. Until he injured his knee last season, Flacco had not missed a single start since he was drafted in 2008. Yes he has struggled as of recently, but he is not even a year off of a major knee injury. He worked his tail off to get healthy was able to start the first game of the 2016 season. Many players, especially a quarterback, would not have been back that quickly from a similar injury. If that does not say speak volumes, I don’t know what does.
Flacco and Lewis could not be anything but different when it comes to showing passion. Lewis was known for his emotion on and off the field. He was always the one giving the pregame speech and pumping up players before games. Vocal leaders like Ray Lewis are one in a generation kind of players and you do not get those on every team.
Joe got the nickname “Joe Cool” for a reason. He knows that he is not the kind of leader Ray was and does not try to be someone he isn’t. His passion is shown mostly through his actions and he has the play to back it up. He is 10-5 in the playoffs during his career and always seems to step up his play to another level.
A Major Distraction
I think these comments from Lewis could have not come at a worse time. On Sunday, the Ravens play their biggest game of the season against the Dallas Cowboys. They are currently fighting for the division title and a playoff spot in the AFC. As much as John Harbaugh and the players can play off the comments, it is going to be a major distraction in the locker room. It would have been more appropriate for Ray to reach out to Flacco or the team privately to express his concerns. Lewis is still involved very much with the franchise, but there comes a point where he needs to keep his mouth shut. There are other plays in the locker room like Steve Smith Sr. and Terrell Suggs who provide the vocal leadership.
Hopefully the team can rally together and not let these comments affect them in a negative way. I think Flacco now has a major chip on his shoulder and will play his best game of the season against the Cowboys.