Baltimore Ravens: Joe Flacco will have a bounce back 2018 season
Flacco is not completely to blame for his struggles:
Entering the 2018 season, Flacco has the eighth-highest average salary ($22.1 million) out of all NFL quarterbacks, but he ranked 25th in the NFL last season with an 80.4 quarterback rating. He finished 24th overall in 2016, and 30th in 2015. Simply put, his performance does not align with the money he’s making. With no guaranteed money remaining on his contract after the 2018 season, Flacco could very well be cut if he does not have a comeback year.
Flacco’s play needs to improve, and he has dealt with injuries, but not all of the blame should be put on his shoulders. Some of the fingers should point towards the front office and coaching staff. Since Flacco signed his big contract in 2013, the Ravens (not including the 2018 draft) used 13-of-17 of their picks in rounds 1-3 on defensive players.
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The Ravens focused on defense:
The four offensive players that the Ravens took in that span were tackle Ronnie Stanley, wide receiver Breshad Perriman, and tight ends Maxx Williams & Crockett Gillmore. While Stanley has looked the part of a sixth-overall pick at the left tackle position, Perriman, Williams, and Gillmore have combined for 1,534 career receiving yards on 141 catches. To put that into perspective, Steve Smith Sr. totaled 1,065 receiving yards with his first season with the Ravens in 2014, when he was 35-years-old.
It’s easy to target Flacco for the Ravens’ struggles on offense, and some of the blame should go to the veteran signal-caller who’s entering his 11th NFL season. However, in recent years, Ozzie Newsome and the front office have not used ample early round picks on the offense. That pattern finally changed a few weeks ago, and Flacco will get a chance to work with a completely revamped passing attack.