Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The fuss about Flacco

Joe Flacco has become a hot button topic in Baltimore. Is a QB controversy brewing? I hope not.

After Joe Flacco turned in his worst game as an NFL quarterback, including throwing a career-high 4 interceptions, it's understandable that fans will be talking about his horrid performance.

Read any message board or tune into any local sports show on the radio and you'll see or hear it.

But some are just taking it too far. They are saying Flacco is holding the team back. They are saying that Marc Bulger should be playing. They are basically writing off Flacco's career -- a career that we're only 34 regular season games into.

In case people have forgotten, the Ravens have gone 21-13 in the regular season with Flacco as the QB since 2008. They have won three playoff games in 2 years. You'd think people would be able to take that into account, but apparently not.

Instead, Ravens fans are harping on Flacco's miserable day against the Bengals -- and even going back and complaining about Flacco's performance in the week 1 over the New York Jets.

Excuse me, but did these people watch the same game I did that Monday night?

The Ravens won that game because of Joe Flacco.

The Jets took away the running game and forced the Ravens to throw -- and they did -- to the tune of 248 yards -- the same number of yards that Tom Brady threw in a week 2 loss to the Jets. Flacco made several great passes to extend drives, especially on the 76-yard drive at the end of the first half that put the Ravens up 7-6.

But it seems that some fans have played too much fantasy football. Not only do they want to win, they want to rack up touchdowns and passing yards. Don't get me wrong, I would love for the Ravens to win like the Colts and Saints have, but let's be real. We aren't those teams. At least not yet.

The Ravens have one of the league's best running backs in Ray Rice. He had over 2,000 yards from scrimmage last season. But so far in 2010, he has only had 37 rushes -- and only received 16 touches against the Bengals despite a 5.4 yard per carry average. So what is the problem with running the ball more -- or using more screens to Rice? It worked last year.

And this is what it comes down to. I believe Cam Cameron is not putting Joe Flacco into the best situation to succeed. Yes, Flacco shouldn't have thrown 4 interceptions last week, and he has a lot of room to improve as a QB. But I don't believe the Ravens are ready to become a pass-first offense, nor do they need to be. Not when you have Ray Rice and Willis McGahee in your backfield.

Flacco should continue improving his numbers during his third year as a QB in the NFL. With Anquan Boldin, TJ Houshmandzadeh, Derrick Mason and Todd Heap at your disposal, there is no excuse not to. But let's remember that the Jets were the #1 defense in the NFL last year and the Bengals were #4. So it's not like Joe Flacco has struggled to perform against middle of the road defenses so far in 2010. He has struggled against the best of the best.

Now, I would like to see him take those steps and beat a top defense, decisively, but for now, I think we need to scale back our expectations of Flacco and be happy with what we have in him.

The last thing I want to see if Flacco heading to another team the way Drew Brees and Donovan McNabb have.

But it seems like some Ravens fans have already reached that point.

No comments: