Can the Ravens finally reach the summit in 2012?

July 13, 2012 | Mark Brown

THE GREAT FLACCO DEBATE

No other NFL player can achieve superstar status like a star quarterback. Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Peyton and Eli Manning – these are the high-flyers. We have Joe Flacco.

I think Flacco is a Baltimore kind of player. Just say his name like a local. Joe Flacco! He was born to play here. His goofy unibrow and awkward television commercials fit right in the place where people unabashedly wear around purple camouflage. Baltimore is not a superstar kind of town. Baltimore is a town where a ragtag bunch of misfits punch the superstar in the face and leave them wondering what happened.

Is Flacco good enough to lead the misfits to do that? We always fondly remember Trent Dilfer and the magical Super Bowl season. In the decade-plus since then, rules have changed in the league to make it more offense-friendly. So the bar for “good enough” has been raised.

Different weeks see a different Flacco. There was Week 7 on the road against a Jacksonville team that would finish the season 5-11 where Flacco threw for 137 yards and the team scored only 7 points. Two weeks later, Flacco hit Torrey Smith in the end zone in Pittsburgh to seal a victory on the road with eight seconds left on the clock.

If you like Flacco, you remember his good games and think he’s the answer. If you don’t like him, you probably remember his bad games and think he’s not. Consistency would help, especially in road games against mediocre or bad teams. When considering the question marks in the defense, there is more pressure on Flacco, as well. On the whole, I believe he is up to the challenge.

PUT IT ALL TOGETHER AND WHAT DO YOU GET?

Probably another year where the Ravens make the playoffs, ultimately lose on the road and lament one or more stupid losses that prevented them from getting either the division title or a bye and home field advantage all the way to the Super Bowl. I just hope they don’t rip out my heart with a devastating dropped pass or missed field goal again.

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