Back in late April, I wrote a blog about how Ravens fans need to show patience with rookie quarterback Joe Flacco. On Sunday my blog becomes a reality and Ravens fans will begin a journey with Joe Flacco that we hope will last a long time.
We deserve it! It’s been 33 years since this town had a quarterback that went from prospect to bona fide star and leader. That quarterback’s name was Bert Jones, and he and his strong right arm led the Colts to three straight AFC East Championships from 1975-77. Since Jones, the Colts/Ravens have gone through a collection of young signal callers that shall we say aren’t exactly Hall of Fame caliber–Art Schlichter, Mike Pagel, Eric Zeier, Wally Richardson, Chris Redman, and Kyle Boller. Does that bring back some painful memories? In fact, mediocre would be a kind adjective to describe this group.
So now comes our great new hope, all six feet, six inches of him with a cannon for a right arm and a calm demeanor that belies his youth. We can only hope and pray that he joins Unitas and Jones, rather than Redman and Pagel, in Baltimore lore.
As fans we will have to learn to be patient with Flacco. Yeah, we are all excited to see him. But, history is history, and in the last 25 years only two quarterbacks have made immediate impacts as rookies–Dan Marino and Ben Roethlisberger. Peyton and Eli Manning, John Elway, and Brett Favre either didn’t play as rookies or they flat out stunk. Some took a couple of years to develop, and some like Ryan Leaf never could make it.
As I said back in April, we can’t expect Flacco to be Marino from game one or even for the first year or maybe the second. If he goes 10 for 25 with two interceptions vs. the Bengals, we can’t classify him a bust either. Rookie quarterbacks are works in progress, and the process more than the results are important in year one and maybe in year two. Look how much better he has gotten through the preseason and how he improved from week one. Tell me the truth, some of you where ready to dump the kid after the New England game, weren’t you?
Remember, we want Flacco to be our quarterback for the next 10 years, not just for Sunday. When he struggles, and trust me at some point he will, we as fans will need to show some patience. More than likely that patience will be tested, mightily at times. No matter how rough it gets we need to stay patient and most importantly in Flacco’s corner.
Flacco certainly has the talent, and I think he will get good coaching from Cam Cameron and Hue Jackson. Is he destined for greatness? I can’t predict that, and neither can anyone else. Also much depends on the players around him, the system, and the offensive line.
So Ravens fans, get ready; the Flacco era has begun. Please “football Gods,” let this kid be the answer. The last thing we need is another quarterback not to make it. Go Joe!