Just last offseason it would have been difficult with naming any number of veteran defenders on the Baltimore Ravens as the team’s most irreplaceable player. Ray Lewis isn’t walking through that door this season, and Ed Reed will be pulling on a Houston Texans jersey in 2013. Those factors combined with a new era of defense for the Ravens leads to the most irreplaceable piece being on the offensive side of the football.
There’s no doubt that quarterback Joe Flacco proved his value to this franchise with his remarkable postseason run of four victories en route to the Lombardi Trophy. His numbers included 11 touchdowns and zero interceptions which illustrates just how judicious he was with the pigskins when it mattered most. The Ravens have to be expecting that kind of consistency out of Flacco all year in 2013 after making him a $100 million man during the offseason, and his importance to this team cannot be understated.
Although the Ravens will likely use a substantial rushing attack with Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce in the upcoming year, Flacco is the key to maintaining balance. With his most trusted wide out in Anquan Boldin now a San Francisco 49er and tight end Dennis Pitta out for the year, the pressure is on the latest Super Bowl champion signal caller to continue his growth this season.
Despite his veritable cast of unknown pass catchers look, for Flacco to lead this team to big things in 2013. Deep threat Torrey Smith returns to give the strong-armed field general his vertical target for down-field damage. If a committee of guys can band together and provide Flacco with options in the underneath passing game, the Ravens shouldn’t miss a beat despite all of their offseason departures and injury concerns.
The main reason that this can be said with confidence is Flacco and his unflappable demeanor under center. No matter the situation, Joe Cool exemplifies that moniker as one of the toughest quarterbacks to rattle in the NFL. That makes him and irreplaceable piece of the puzzle in Baltimore as the Ravens embark on their quest to a repeat.