Joe Flacco has everything he needs to be successful
The Baltimore Ravens are banking on a comeback season from Joe Flacco. Their veteran quarterback has everything he needs:
The first thing on the Joe Flacco checklist is a motivating push and that’s exactly what the Ravens drafting Lamar Jackson provided. Flacco needs a running game. His best regular season performance came in 2014, when Justin Forsett led a great rushing attack. Alex Collins and company have that covered.
Scrolling down on the Flacco checklist, you see chemistry with a tight end. Flacco had a connection with Dennis Pitta that helped him out in a big way. It’s pretty telling when a player can come off back to back hip injuries and have 86 receptions in a season. Flacco needs to find a tight end who can fill the Pitta void.
It looks like Hayden Hurst has all the markings of a Flacco preferred target. Hurst is tough as nails, and has dependable hands. He is a big bodied target and Flacco doesn’t have to put it in the bread basket every time; Hurst can jump up and grab the football. In his first two preseason games Hurst has four receptions for 26 yards and a touchdown. In Flacco’s one preseason drive so far, it didn’t take long for him to find Hurst in the middle of the field.
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Hurst can be that all important tight end connection for Flacco. If Mark Andrews can step up and become a play-maker who can stretch the defense a little, Baltimore will have much more success at the tight end position than they have in a long-time. While Hurst looks like he will be Flacco’s go to tight end, he can do more with each reception than Pitta could. Andrews is still unproven, but Hurst is showing early signs of brilliance. Let’s put a check next to tight end connection.
The next item Flacco needs to have is a deep threat. The Ravens have John Brown, who by all accounts has impressed in training camp. If Brown can stay on the field (which is an if) he could be the best deep threat Flacco has had since Torrey Smith. Brown looks to be an upgrade from Mike Wallace and he could be the key to unlocking Flacco’s cannon of an arm. Chris Moore is also a player who is coming along as a down the field weapon.
The last thing Flacco needs in terms of weapons is a dependable veteran wide receiver like a Derrick Mason, an Anquan Boldin or a Steve Smith Sr. kind of target. Michael Crabtree is the perfect receiver to fill this need. Crabtree has scored 25 touchdowns in the last three seasons and is one of the more established performers in the NFL. In the perfect situation, Crabtree could have a big season or two with the Ravens.
There are some serious questions about the Ravens offensive line, however the needle is pointed up. Ronnie Stanley is a star left tackle, Marshal Yanda is back and Orlando Brown Jr. looks like a plug and play right tackle. While left guard and center appear to be up for grabs, the offensive line should be stronger than it was a season ago. Flacco will have protection.
The last thing on the Flacco checklist is a good defense. It is imperative that Flacco doesn’t feel like he has to lift the team up by himself. The Ravens have a strong defense that could be even better than it was last year, because Don Martindale is calling the shots. Flacco has everything he needs to be successful. Jackson does give Flacco a push, but that’s just a small reason why, Flacco is going to shine this season.