During the offseason, Baltimore Ravens QB Joe Flacco was called out by Pittsburgh Steelers LB LaMarr Woodley. Woodley said that with Flacco as the quarterback, “the Ravens won’t make the Super Bowl in his lifetime”. At least someone thinks Joe Flacco is an elite quarterback, his head coach, John Harbaugh.
Flacco responded to Woodley by saying, “I think I’m pretty damn good”. The jury is out on that statement. Flacco’s head coach, John Harbaugh agrees with his thinking. Prior to last night’s embarrassing loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars on national television, Harbaugh was a guest on 105.7 The Fan in Baltimore. You can listen to the entire interview right here.
The hosts asked Harbaugh about criticism of his quarterback and Harbaugh bristled in response. Harbaugh said, “Well everybody can have their opinion, but anyone who knows football knows that is not the case. He is the first quarterback in history, the fastest quarterback in history to reach 40 wins- so that’s real”. Well, I would have to disagree with using that as a benchmark. Flacco has had the benefit of playing on a team built around a spectacular defense.
Harbaugh continues, “That’s the measuring stick because in the end this is a team sport and how a quarterback interacts and relates to his team and plays the game in such a way is to win games. That’s what counts. That’s the bottom line”.
Well that’s nice, he can win regular season games, but he has failed to take his team to the next level when it counts, in the playoffs. Flacco is entering his fourth season in the NFL and his progression has hit a brick wall. In fact, you can make the case that he has regressed.
Flacco is completing only 52% of his passes and his passer rating so far this season is 10 points less than his career average 86.4. Flacco has thrown only 8 touchdowns this season but he has accounted for 10 turnovers between interceptions and fumbles.
Flacco has looked terrible at times this season, last night being no exception. Against the Tennessee Titans, he completed only 46% of his passes and threw two interceptions. Against the New York Jets, he completed the game with a 32.3 completion percentage. Last night, Flacco only completed 21 of 38 pass attempts for a paltry 137 yards, a 3.61 yards per attempt. 3.61, that is not going to get it done in the NFL and it certainly was not the type of performance Flacco should have had against the Jacksonville Jaguars last night.
The loss suffered by the Ravens last night, now drops them out of first place in the AFC North. Elite quarterbacks are able to put the team on their back, even during bad games, finding a way to pull out a win. The Ravens didn’t have a first down until 5 minutes were remaining in the third quarter. Inexcusable. Flacco’s final pass was intercepted. Again, inexcusable. 146 total yards, horrendous.
It’s a good thing that Flacco’s head coach has confidence in him, because a few more performances like the one he turned in last night, and the fans are going to start doubting Flacco even more than they do now.