I've been reading a lot of comments about Joe holding onto the ball too long. And he's consistently been among the top fumblers in the league for five seasons, getting worse each year, among the likes of Sanchez, Newton, Vick, Cassel, Rivers, and Tebow. Not good, particularly for a guy who doesn't run much.
But I've often wondered how much of this is attributable to playing in Cameron's system. Recall that the "Air Coryell" scheme is a very vertical attack, and each year Cameron had seemed to rely on the scheme more and more. With speed of Torrey and Jacoby, the thought was that this season, more than any other, would be one in which the Ravens could attack downfield and take advantage of Flacco's big arm.
And it worked. Coming into yesterday's game, Flacco was fourth in the league in 20+ yard completions with 51 (Luck 56, Peyton 53, Brees 52). Yesterday he had three completions over 20 yards and another 19 yard TD to Boldin.
My contention is this. Cam wanted Flacco to throw the long ball, and it requires that your QB stand in the pocket for a long time as the play develops. The first TD to Boldin was a double move that required Flacco to pump and then wait, wait, wait, for quite a bit before letting the ball go. With protection, it paid off. When the protection isn't as good, as we saw later with Oher, standing around like that causes the fumbles we've seen. Remember, we're talking about the proverbial blind side. I know what people are saying when they want Flacco to hear footsteps, but I suspect pressure from the blindside is what you get when you ask the QB to stand there and wait for the deep man to get open.
So... what I expect is that with Cam gone, we'll see fewer deep balls and "explosive" plays, but on the plus side, more complex, shorter routes, quicker reads and fewer sacks and fumbles. I hope to see less pressure on Oher. I've noticed that Flacco has not done a good job this season throwing the ball prior to receivers coming out of breaks. I hope that, too, is improved with less focus on throwing deep and letting receivers run underneath.
I have no problem being critical of Flacco but he needs help. They have to run the ball to get play action working. If they can't block the pass rush they need to move the pocket, call quick screens and delayed draws.
When he has protection he can make every throw IMO. Those two turnovers yesterday were really not his fault, again IMO
The sack strips increasing this year are a result of a couple of things. One as you mentioned the deep routes. The oline is really bad on the edges this year as Osmele and Oher are worse than McKinnie and Oher from last year. The regression of the middle of the Oline. He rarely has a clean pocket to step up in. He has also held the ball longer than he should waiting for receivers to get open. With the defense playing poorly I think he is putting more pressure on himself to make something happen. He also needs to step up and get rid of it quicker. The fumble yesterday he should have stepped up in the pocket. Oher got beat pretty badly but if Joe had stepped up he may have been able to get rid of the ball. It was a straightline to him once the End got around Oher rather than having to curl back in to get him.
I got back to B-More's analysis on Flacco's worth...the Ravens don't know, so they probably offerred him a conservative deal + incentives (Ozzie loves incentives). It therefore stands to reason, due to lack of a deal, that Flacco's camp wants more guaranteed money.
In other words, the Ravens see an above-average QB with the potential to be very good if not great, and Flacco's camp sees a very good QB that has already proven his worth.
Prior to the Ravens loss yesterday, the last time a team lost when their quarterback threw 3+ TDs, no more than 1 INT, 75% or better completion percentage, and 8+ yards per attempt was September 23, 2007. Philip Rivers w/ the Chargers @ Green Bay.
That was 74 games in a row where the quarterback had that kind of performance and the team won the game.
So out of the last 75 occurrences (64 of which have been since Flacco entered the NFL), the ONLY TIME the team lost the game was Yesterday.
So how about we don't blame Flacco for yesterday's loss, mmkay?
Once again, it all comes back to Cam. He was the problem. Now that he's gone, hopefully we can stop with the "everybody go long" shenanigans and get in some plays that actually help our receivers get open quickly enough to let Flacco throw the ball while the line can still hold back the pass rush. It's like that entire concept never connected with Cam that it might be something important to consider. Good riddance.