#1) You don't think Flacco has improved? (rhetorical question I guess). Flacco in his first two years was largely a game manager who infrequently would make a game-changing play. He now is the type of QB who can single-handedly take over a football game when he's hot. Yes, consistency is still an issue (just like in his first few seasons), but the upside is much higher than before and I think you can argue the floor has become a lot higher as well. Look at his stat lines over his first 32 starts. You saw a lot of sub-200 yard, 0 TD games. We were okay with those efforts before, because the Ravens still won the game in the midst of those lackluster stat lines. You rarely see those type of games from him anymore. We, as fans, have clearly raised the bar for him. In the absence of a good defense this year, Flacco has to win games, not just manage them. When he fails, we chastise him. Yet, the fact that he is now frequently able to turn in the type of effort like he did on Sunday indicates his level of play has indeed improved. Joe Flacco circa 2008 or 2009 could not have done what he did against Cincy, NE, Oak, Was, or NYG this year. I would state that those who think Flacco hasn't improved are using a ridiculously upward moving scale in evaluating him.
2) "when the stars align, he can play great". First off, the stars must align quite often in your galaxy, because Flacco has had a lot of really good games over the last 30 starts. This isn't a case of the guy looking like Johnny Unitas once a year. He has these burst of brilliance far more regularly than you state. Secondly, in the midst of a lot of variables in his career, he's still produced at a perfectly good level and won a lot of football games. None of the TEs or WRs who he threw to in year #1 and #2 were around for year #4.
Also, this statement shows your lack of comprehension on how difficult the NFL is. Flacco is not Brady or Peyton or Brees. Nobody here thinks he is or expects him to be. Aside from that trio, every other QB in the league is going to suffer when variables change or are removed. That is a fact that people who follow the trends of teams league-wide have observed. Joe has had a patchwork, underperforming line in front of him this year. He rarely has time to set and throw and yet is having another solid season. When Jay Cutler or Eli Manning or Philip Rivers (all QBs viewed to be better than Joe by a lot of analysts) have struggles with their O-lines, they throw 15-20 INTs a season. Joe, despite his O-line struggles, has only 10 INTs this year. That should be no surprise, since Flacco, despite never missing an NFL start, has never thrown more than 12 in a season. Despite being inconsistent from start-to-start, Flacco is arguably the most consistent QB from an overall stats line in NFL history.
#3) When we wait for the other Joe to show up...is that Joe really all that awful? Again, here is where statistical facts come into play. Joe Flacco has gone 45 games without throwing more than two interceptions. During that 45 game stretch since he last threw 3, he has only had three instances where he even threw two INTs in a game. I think we need to take a step back and appreciate how impressive that is. Matt Ryan had a game this year where he threw 0TD-5INT. Eli Manning has numerous games where he is a turnover machine. We criticized Joe after his efforts against WAS and DEN even those two games he had 5TDs-2INTs and a passer rating a couple points shy of 100. I agree that he didn't play well, but if those two weeks were your example of his poor play, you need to find better examples to convince me, particularly in light of what a truly bad game is for other NFL QBs.
#4) What does Joe's draft position have to do with his level of criticism and expectation. Would we be reacting any differently to his performance this year if he was a 4th round pick? Would his interception against the Broncos be more excusable? That's a severely flawed logic. Late first round draft pick QBs are far from a sure thing and Flacco has vastly out-performed the expectations for even an early-to-mid first rounder, let alone a late first rounder (not that it's even relevant). You state as almost a matter of fact that first round draft pick QBs are assured of greatness, which is outright wrong. Flacco in year #4, with one dropped pass away from the Super Bowl, was IMO ahead of Matthew "king-of-the-meaningless stat" Stafford (a #1 overall pick) is this year in his 4th season. He's also on a much better arc than Sanchez, Freeman, and even Sam Bradford (another #1 overall pick). He also is probably on par with Matt Ryan, who was taken as the first QB in his own 2008 draft. Ryan has better numbers (against far worse defenses), but has been an outright AWFUL Qb when it counts in the playoffs. I might still give the edge to Flacco in that comparison. If you think a QB should enter the NFL in the late first round and have the expectation for them to have the success that Flacco has, you are truly uneducated on the history of the game of football. Even when Joe has a bad game or bad moment, he still has done some pretty remarkable things in his first 5 NFL seasons....some of which may never be done again....ever.
Op wasn't talking about how Flacco played. He was talking about how before this game, when asked who was responsible for the offense underperforming all season, Joe said that it was 100% him. He didn't use the moment to blame Cam, he didn't complain about his O line, he didn't mention wide receivers needing to be able to beat press coverage. He could have, and those would have all been true, but instead he put it all on his shoulders and said "100% me."
And look at how his team mates responded.
Next time someone claims that Joe isn't a leader, I'm just going to link to this post until that meme goes away.
He did the job that he is paid for. He made adjustments and got it done last week. "Manned up" is so cliche.
With one game to go, Flacco has 526 attempts on the year, so if he has significant PT this (edit: weekend) he'll wind up with the most attempts in one year of his career (had 542 last year, highest to date).
His completion percentage so far this year is 59.89, second-worst of his five years. Only last year was worse--he actually completed a greater percentage of passes as a rookie. For his career, he's a 60.59% passer, so he's slightly below that as well at this point.
He's getting 7.2 yards/attempt this year, slightly better than his career average of 7.1, and tied with 2009 as his second-best effort in that respect.
22 TDs and 10 interceptions is slightly better than his average per year in both respects--however, when you consider that he's had more attempts this year than in others, it makes the TD number look worse and the interception number look better, so that's a wash.
So in terms of these measurables, Flacco's pretty much having a standard year for him. As far as the intangibles of which you speak go... maybe, but I'd argue that they're not consistently around. These 0 TD games of which you speak are still around. I'd argue that the fact that he threw one TD pass in garbage time against the Texans, or two in garbage time against the Broncos, doesn't mean all that much...
For those that missed it, as ASB and others have said here, this isn't about his play. They asked him all week leading up to the Giants game about the offense, and he said it all starts with him.
He didn't do the Peyton-Manning-After-Losing-a-Playoff-Game bit and blame the OL, or the coaching, or Ray Rice, or anyone else. He took it.Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Flacco