Joe Flacco received a lot of criticism for his inconsistent performance last season and received even more when he said he is the NFL’s best quarterback.
In the regular season and postseason combined, Flacco completed 57 percent of his passes, threw for 4,092 yards, 24 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions. These numbers don’t blow you away, but, Flacco was a lot better then his statistics reflect.
One factor that contributed to Flacco’s inconsistency last season was the defensive talent he was facing every week. In fact, Flacco played 12 top ten defenses last season and the Ravens won ten of those games. The chart below shows his numbers against those defenses.
|Team||Times Played||Overall Defensive Rating||Pass Defense Rating||Rush Defense Rating||Flacco’s Numbers|
|Steelers||2||1||1||8||45/76, 524 yards, 4 TD, 0 INT|
|Browns||2||10||2||30||21/47, 290 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT|
|Bengals||2||7||9||10||32/46, 400 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT|
|Texans||2||2||3||4||34/60, 481 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT|
|49ers||1||4||16||1||15/23, 161 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT|
|Jets||1||5||5||13||10/31, 163 yards, 0 TD 1 INT|
|Seahawks||1||9||11||15||29/52, 255 yards, 1 TD, I INT|
|Jaguars||1||6||8||9||21/38, 137 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT|
Against these teams, Flacco totaled a 55 percent completion percentage, 2,411 yards, 14 touchdowns, and six interceptions. In the other six games against the Tennessee Titans, St. Louis Rams, Arizona Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, New England Patriots, and San Diego Chargers, Flacco completed 60 percent of his passes, threw for 1,681 yards, and threw ten touchdowns to six interceptions.
In the games against the top defenses in the league, the Ravens went ten and two. In the games against the Titans, Rams, Cardinals, Colts, Chargers, and the Patriots, the Ravens went three and three.
If criticism should be placed on anyone, it should be Cam Cameron for not utilizing Ray Rice enough. In the games where Flacco did not face a top ten defense, Rice averaged 15 carries for 70 yards. That is an average of 4.6 yards per attempt! If Cameron would have utilised Rice more, the Ravens could have been the number one seed in the AFC and most likely would have made it to the Super Bowl because of their undefeated record at M&T Bank Stadium.
I truly believe Flacco is going to take a huge step forward this year. With the addition of Jacoby Jones, Anquan Boldin can work in the slot where he is more effective. His presence in the slot will also give Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta less attention from defensive backs and linebackers.
Jim Caldwell should also help Flacco tremendously. According to reports from minicamps, Caldwell has already had an impact on Flacco’s footwork, mechanics, and overall quarterback play. If Flacco can out together a Pro-Bowl season, the Ravens could find themselves in the Super Bowl.