Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco has not lived up to his hefty contract thus far in 2013. While the blame can’t be entirely thrown his way for the Ravens’ 4-6 record, he has to be the franchise quarterback they expected him to be.
It’s pointless to address the “elite” argument at this point because it’s a foolish word anyways that can have different meanings for different people. What can be said about Flacco is that he simply isn’t getting it done through the air, especially with his accuracy and propensity to turn the ball over this season.
The 28-year-old has been known for being more of a game-managing quarterback than one that will flat out win it for his team, but when he’s thrown just as many interceptions as he has touchdowns — 13 for each respective statistic — is he really helping the team and serving that role? Flacco also has six fumbles on the season which can largely be attributed to limited time and protection from the offensive line, but his decision-making process has been a little off as well.
58.6 completion percentage, 48.3 QBR, 75.3 quarterback rating — these are Joe Flacco’s numbers as of right now. That doesn’t speak to a whole lot of accuracy and positive production, now does it?
What’s been really concerning for Flacco has been how long he has held onto the football and how he doesn’t know what to do at times. It happens to every quarterback at some point or another. Sometimes the coverage is actually that good that there is nowhere to go with the football. Sometimes, in the Ravens’ case, the receivers just can’t get separation and airmailing the football into the lower level of seats is the right move. And sometimes the quarterback just misses his targets, and Joe has done that frequently this season.
How can these mistakes be corrected?
Some of them can’t; it’s just who Joe is.
Flacco has always been a guy who isn’t going to change no matter what. I’m not saying he can’t improve his skills; every player can with practice. What he can’t improve is his awareness in the pocket and savvy football instincts to release the ball at the proper time when defenders get to the level of the quarterback. There are also times when it appears Flacco tries to do too much instead of simply tucking the football and either scrambling for a few yards or taking a sack, and that leads to fumbles.
Joe doesn’t have to be the best player on this team and he doesn’t have to be even a great quarterback. The criticisms of Flacco have been magnified, and rightfully so. Because without Dennis Pitta at tight end there isn’t a whole lot of depth outside of Torrey Smith and maybe Marlon Brown.
That being said, if the Ravens expect to make the playoffs this season they have to do it coinciding with better performances from Flacco. Consistently throwing for under 200 yards a game and not scoring more than 30 points all but once this season against the Houston Texans in Week 3 — special teams and defense added touchdowns for Baltimore — will leave the Ravens on the outside looking in with a host of other mediocre teams in the AFC.