With his two top targets gone, Joe Flacco becomes “the guy” in Baltimore

July 26, 2011 | Peter Dilutis

Flacco doesn’t just get the chance to be the man, but he HAS to be the man if the Ravens are going to be a successful, winning offense in 2011.

Joe has to teach. He has to help the young players improve. Flacco has to have that bit of Manning and Brady in him where he can make his fellow offensive players better the moment he steps on the football field.

While Flacco has undoubtedly had his moments throughout the past three seasons, including some that would be much more memorable had his teammates not let him down on a few occasions that I won’t get into right now, for the most part, when the Ravens offense has rolled, Flacco has rolled with it.

Now, Flacco is going to have to be the reason it rolls. He’s got the keys to the Mercedes and the onus is on him to take it as far as it will go.

Fans wanted this. We all wanted this.

Flacco was compared to Phillip Rivers this past offseason. That discussion was full of hypotheticals and was dependent on IF Flacco threw downfield more and IF he had different types of receivers surrounding him.

July 25th, 2011 could turn out to be a career defining day for Joe Flacco; the day that he took control of the Ravens offense and started becoming a consistent, pro-bowl quarterback.

Even if Derrick Mason and/or Todd Heap end up coming back to Baltimore on cheaper deals, the Ravens made a statement today, and they made it loud and clear.

They are willing to move on without the services of the top two receivers in franchise history. Even if one or both of them come back, what the Ravens said tonight through their actions will resonate with Joe Flacco and the rest of the organization for years to come.

While fans will fret the losses of two Baltimore football icons, the bigger storyline lies in the arm and mind of Joe Flacco.

For better or worse, on Monday, July 25th, 2011, Joe Flacco became the guy in Baltimore.

Personally, I’m betting on him being one of the best over the next few seasons.

Maybe I’m right, maybe I’m wrong.

But it sure will be fun watching it all unfold.