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Purple Reign 2: Flacco & Bisciotti met, talked Super Bowls & millions last August

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Purple Reign 2: Flacco & Bisciotti met, talked Super Bowls & millions last August

Posted on 30 May 2013 by Nestor Aparicio

This is an excerpt from a new, 480-page book on the Baltimore Ravens championship run called Purple Reign 2: Faith, Family & Football – A Baltimore Love Story. If you enjoyed every aspect of their Super Bowl win in New Orleans, you’ll love this book that chronicles how the team overcame adversity and personal tragedies, and used theology sprinkled with faith, family and love on the way to a Baltimore parade fueled by inspiration, dedication, perspiration and yes, a little bit of luck.

Here’s an excerpt from Chapter 15 of the definitive book on the Ravens’ Super Bowl XLVII victory in New Orleans, Purple Reign 2: Faith, Family & Football – A Baltimore Love Story.

If you enjoy it, please consider buying the books for the holidays as gifts for anyone who loves the Baltimore Ravens.

You can purchase both Purple Reign books by clicking here:

You can read an excerpt from Chapter 9 here where Joe Flacco and Steve Bisciotti talk about the risk of $100 million:

You can read an excerpt from Chapter 15 on the firing of Cam Cameron and its impact on Joe Flacco

This is from Chapter 9, “Injury after insult after implosion – Psychology 2012.” If you enjoy this small snippet you can purchase the book and read another excerpt here. You can also join the Facebook fan page here. The book will be released on May 31st and will be delivered before Father’s Day if purchase before June 5th.

 

AS THE TEAM WAS ASSEMBLED in the preseason, questions lingered, but Harbaugh felt great that the team had survived an offseason without arrests, without incidents, without any member of a veteran team blaming Evans or Cundiff for the New England loss. He inherited a fractured team in 2008, and by the summer of 2012 he was feeling good about the unity of the players and their maturity.

But the obvious questions for fans, media, and The Castle staff were all the same:

Is this the last chance for Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, and Matt Birk?

Will the offensive line hold up?

Can the Ravens win the big one?

Can Joe Flacco win the big one?

As Bisciotti knew on draft day in 2008, and as Newsome, Harbaugh, and everyone else in the organization had experienced the hard way — it always comes back to the quarterback. Was Joe Flacco going to be the franchise quarterback who would win a Super Bowl for the Baltimore Ravens?

Flacco, who played perhaps the best game of his career and threw what would’ve been the pass that took the Ravens to the Super Bowl on his last drive in January, somehow went into the 2012 season as the man on the hot seat who had not only turned down a $90 million offer for more than six months, but who had gone on WNST.net & AM 1570 in April and said he thought he was the best quarterback in the NFL. As much as Tim Tebow was the darling of ESPN with a seemingly non-stop Jets theme on SportsCenter, Flacco became something of a punch line for a quarterback who could get a team to the playoffs, but somehow was perceived as “not Super Bowl caliber.”

Short of catching his own pass in Foxborough, he literally had done everything he could do to get his team into the Super Bowl and yet the abuse was seemingly endless.

But the game is won on the X’s and O’s and the execution, and Flacco knew this. Cameron and Flacco had talked about more passing, more shotgun formations, and more pressure on defenses, but over the summer of 2012 it became clear the Ravens would become more of a personalized offense for No. 5. If the Ravens were offering Flacco $90 million dollars, they’d need to trust him to earn that money. He loved the tempo of the no-huddle offense and loved that it allowed him to dictate to the defense both personnel and pace.

“What quarterback wouldn’t want to run the no-huddle or fast-paced offense?” Flacco said. “Let’s be honest, it’s more fun to play quarterback when you do that. We like the pace we’re running on offense right now, but it’s a work in progress. We’ve done OK, and we’ve played pretty quick. But, we know we can play better, and we will play faster as we get into it more.”

Harbaugh endorsed this ideological move from being a team that always allowed its defense to cut loose while always seeming to fear the worst from the offense — trying to utilize the clock, run the ball, and be more conservative. “We’ve talked about the no-huddle [offense] since Joe’s [Flacco] rookie season,” Harbaugh said. “He ran it at Delaware and has had success in it when we’ve run it the last few years. He is a key to running it, and he loves it. And, we have the parts for it right now, including the offensive line. We can run the offense very fast, a little fast, slower, and we can huddle. We’re in a good spot right now with how we can run our offense.”

While some of the idiot sports talking heads and media types were constantly flogging Flacco, the people who watch coaches’ film were always impressed with him, using the evidence and residue of four straight playoff appearances and his improving game to shout down the detractors.

“We’ve spent time with Joe [Flacco], and I perceive a change in him,” said NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock, who saw Flacco play at Audubon High in his hometown of Philadelphia. “He’s won since Day One with the Ravens, but he’s more confident now. They’re confident in him, too, and the improved offense reflects all of that. He can make every throw. He can bring his team from behind. The question becomes, ‘Can they win a Super Bowl with Joe?’ And the answer is an emphatic, ‘Yes!’”

Mike Lombardi, who was doing NFL analysis in the summer of 2012 before becoming the general manager of the Cleveland Browns, said “That anyone spent the offseason criticizing [Joe] Flacco strikes me as ludicrous. Flacco didn’t drop the ball in the end zone against the Patriots. In fact, it was Flacco who drove the Ravens to give them two chances to win that game. It was others who didn’t make plays. While he doesn’t play in an offense that shows off his skills statistically, Flacco is a winning QB, and his record [45-21] shows it.”

ESPN’s Ron Jaworski spoke out on Flacco’s arm strength and ability to attack opposing defenses. “Arm strength – that’s Flacco’s No. 1 attribute,” Jaws said. “I get so tired of hearing how arm strength is overrated. It’s far more important than people think. He has the strongest arm in the NFL. And he has an aggressive, confident throwing mentality. The element always overlooked by those who minimize arm strength is the willingness of quarterbacks like Flacco to pull the trigger. Few recognize that because there is no quantifiable means by which to evaluate throws that are not made by quarterbacks with lesser arm strength. It’s all about dimensions. Flacco gives you the ability to attack all areas of the field at any point in the game.”

Flacco took the responsibility as a personal challenge and something he embraced.

“It’s definitely my offense as a quarterback; it’s my job to get out there and lead these guys and direct them and run the traffic, and get it run the way that I want it to be run,” he said in training camp. “Cam may be running the plays, and I may be controlling certain things on the line depending on what the play is, but the fine details of being a good offense are all of the fine details. And it’s my job to get those correct and that we have everyone on the same page. As long as I’m out there in practice getting it to the games and on game day, as long as I’m doing that and expressing to the receivers, expressing to the running back, and to the offensive line how I feel, and what I see back there and as long as we can get on the same page as that together, then that’s when we’re doing something, and that’s when I’m doing my job.

“You talk about being paid that much money, they don’t do that so that they can go out there to do every job, they do that so they can delegate some jobs onto me. And I can go out there and get it done the way it should be. That’s a big part of being a quarterback. To be able to make sure that everything is running smoothly and everybody sees it the way I see it. And that once we get there on Sunday, we can just react and play. Because we’re all up to speed and we all have the same vision of everything. I think that’s what good quarterbacks are able to do, is to take that and then take a certain play and make it great, just because everyone has a good understanding of that.”

By the beginning of training camp it was very clear that the Ravens and Flacco were at an impasse in negotiating a new contract that would replace the final year of his five-year deal from 2008. Newsome called Bisciotti and said that after tireless conversation with Flacco’s agent Joe Linta, there was no way to get a long-term deal and that the Ravens would need to play out the season and consider signing or franchising their star quarterback in 2013.

Bisciotti authorized a final offer – a “bump and roll” contract that gave Flacco a $1 million per year bonus if he won a Super Bowl and $2 million per year for the six years of the deal if he had won two Super Bowls. It would’ve been a raise that stayed on the books for the life of the deal. The average salary number was $16.7 million per year on the Ravens’ base offer, which would’ve made Flacco the fourth-highest paid quarterback behind Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning. Flacco was essentially turning down $90 million because he was rejecting the notion that he was the fourth best quarterback in the NFL.

Linta and Flacco once again turned it down the week before training camp opened.

Bisciotti was flustered, wanting to get the deal done and ran into Flacco in the cafeteria in Owings Mills during the first week of training camp and summoned the quarterback to his office upstairs.

“I had never, ever – not for one minute – even spoken to Joe about the contract,” Bisciotti said. “That was for Pat [Moriarty] and Ozzie [Newsome] to do, but I wanted to take one more swing at it and try to understand the situation.”

They spent 45 minutes with the door closed.

“There are two things here that I don’t understand,” Bisciotti said to Flacco. “I don’t understand why you’re walking away from this deal? As maligned as you are in the press and as little faith as so many pundits have in you, we’re offering you a $90 million deal and you can go wave that in their face and say, ‘F**k you guys! See, the Ravens DO believe in me!’ ”

Flacco was nonplussed. “I really don’t care about my critics,” he bluntly told the Ravens owner.

Bisciotti was exasperated. “I don’t understand it. Joe, don’t you think you’d play better with a clear head and having this contract behind you?” he continued. “You won’t have to answer questions from anybody, and you can just focus on playing and winning the Super Bowl.”

Flacco said it again. “Steve, I appreciate the offer, but I really don’t care about the media, critics, any of it. I’ve gotta trust my agent, and he doesn’t want any incentives in contracts. And I’ve gotta leave it to him.”

Bisciotti reasoned that until they won a Super Bowl together neither one would get that ultimate respect they desired. “I’m offering you a better deal than the one you’re asking me for if you’re planning on winning the Super Bowl,” he said.

Flacco wasn’t upset or emotional, as is his custom. He simply smiled and said he was going to play out the year. Bisciotti said, “Well, I tried,” as he shook Flacco’s hand. “Then go out and put a few rings on my desk and get what you think you deserve.”

“I figured if he’s fine with it then I should be fine with it,” Bisciotti said. “I wanted it behind both of us. I guess I didn’t really understand how different a guy he was. I told him, ‘You are a different cat, man!’ ”

Flacco remembers the conversation vividly. “Yeah, he couldn’t get over it,” Flacco said. “He said, ‘Do you know what you’re doing? This is the craziest thing I’ve ever heard!’ I told him I knew what I was doing and my price wasn’t getting cheaper. I saw his point of view but I also thought that I was right. I’m a little bit of a hard head.”

Flacco believed the market always get set by the next elite quarterback that signs and the price always goes up if you perform. “It wasn’t a bad offer but I felt like I could do better if I waited,” he said. Like his adversary in this $100 million negotiation, he had gone to the Bisciotti school of downside management.

“My agent said to me, ‘Think about the worse possible situation and if you’re OK with that then hold your position,” Flacco said. The downside here would’ve been a catastrophic injury or a bad 2012 season on the field. “If I got hurt, I got hurt,” he said. “That’s the nature of the game. I was willing to look in the mirror and live with that.”

Flacco said he turned the tables on Bisciotti: “I told him, ‘You should give me four or five million more now because if I win the Super Bowl’ – and I did say ‘if’ – ‘then it’s gonna cost you $20 million.’ ”

Flacco figured he was still only making his base of $6.5 million in 2012 no matter what. The Ravens weren’t ripping up his deal. It was an extension. And there’s always a new “going rate” for top quarterbacks.

“I was actually glad that he called me up to talk about it because it was a cool conversation to have,” Flacco said. “Even though we weren’t agreeing it was a great conversation. It’s one of those talks that grows a relationship, I think.

“Hey, I tried to throw him a bone and save him some money.”

 

To purchase Purple Reign 2: Faith, Family & Football – A Baltimore Love Story, click here.

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Flacco says he wanted to get paid what he’s worth by Ravens

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Flacco says he wanted to get paid what he’s worth by Ravens

Posted on 04 March 2013 by Nestor Aparicio

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Flacco and the Future of the Franchise

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Flacco and the Future of the Franchise

Posted on 27 November 2012 by Thyrl Nelson

Long before the season began, Joe Flacco made a few waves and grabbed a few headlines with his proclamation here on the WNST airwaves that he considered himself an elite quarterback. Immediately after stating as much he attempted to clarify his logic in having to believe that way, but the statement had already been made, the bell had already been rung and the attention had already been cast in the direction of the sensational from a quarterback who, while improbably or inexplicably successful to this point in his career, could be described with any number of adjectives but not exactly sensational.

Since then, and even likely without those statements made by Flacco, everyone has been trying to figure out where he fits into the NFL’s quarterbacking hierarchy. Those who have already decided one way or the other on Falcco’s elite potential or lack thereof have been summarily empowered or silenced as the wind has blown and as his game by game fortunes have varied wildly.

 

The underlying story has been and remains a real issue for the Ravens. While it seems that there’s little doubt within the organization as to whether or not Flacco is capable of leading the team to the “promised land” of a Super Bowl title; the time for them to put up or shut up in that regard is rapidly reaching urgency.

 

After Flacco’s first game, a one-sided drubbing of the Cincinnati Bengals in Baltimore, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh essentially said that it’s time to pay that man. With his sporadic caliber of play, particularly on the road this season, Flacco has indirectly seemed to suggest through his play that he might not exactly be a safe bet to ever evolve into the franchise quarterback that the team may want him to be. Whichever way the front office is leaning, there have been plenty of compelling arguments, made on the field by his play, to suggest that they reconsider.

 

Soon enough though, Joe Flacco is going to get paid. Forgetting, for just a second about the possibility of his ever being elite, Ravens fans know all to well how difficult it can be to find a quarterback that could even be considered competent in comparison to NFL standards. We watched this team, after all, cling to Kyle Boller for far too long seemingly afraid that the polish that they had painstakingly tried to put on his skills might manifest elsewhere and come back to haunt them. Clearly Joe Flacco has shown far more polish than Boller ever did, and so the price of retaining him will be much greater…and potentially much riskier.

 

Maybe the Ravens caught a bit of a break when the new CBA was put into effect before last season. With the new CBA, the price of the franchise tags went down across the board. Last year the price of a franchise tagged quarterback was just over $14 million for one season. This year that number will likely be higher, but not much higher.

 

With each passing week the questions about Flacco seem to mount, as do the stakes. Maybe the Ravens see the franchise tag as another 16 game chance to kick the tires on Flacco. Even a second year of wearing the tag wouldn’t be preclusive from a pricing standpoint, and likely wouldn’t even cost the Ravens much more than they’d have to pay him under the terms of a long-term contract. But what exactly could this team learn about Flacco in 2 more seasons that they haven’t already found out in his first 5?

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Ravens Offseason

Posted on 29 June 2012 by jasonbaier

We are now one month away from the start of training camp and there are several questions surrounding the Ravens. Will they sign Ray Rice and Joe Flacco to long term extension before the start of the regular season? In the case of Ray Rice they don’t have a month to get things ironed out. The Ravens and Ray Rice’s agent have until July 16th to work out a deal or Rice will play this season under the franchise tag which will pay him a more than generous salary of 7.7 million! In Flacco’s case, he is in the last year of his rookie contract and in my opinion the Ravens are getting off cheap for what he has done for this organization in his first four years. Four playoff appearances, two AFC championship appearances and if it wasn’t for Lee Evans (maybe the biggest goat in Baltimore sports history) he would have at very least a Super Bowl appearance and in my opinion a world championship! They both deserve to be paid and the Ravens have a history of taking care of there own and I believe they will with these two up and coming superstars.
Who will replace Terrell Suggs? This is the 100 million dollar question. They will need a collective effort all around. Kruger, McPhee, and Kindle( if he can stay away from stairs) all need to take there games to a whole new level. It isn’t possible to replace Suggs, he meant to much to this team last year. He was the Defensive player of the year, you can’t just replace that. The whole team needs to step up, especially the offense and I think they will. Torrey Smith is primed for a breakout season, building off of his tremendous rookie season. The tight ends Pitta and Dickson are going to be huge and don’t forget Boldin and newcomer Jacoby Jones. He is another speedster who can blow the top off defenses. The offense is primed to take a huge step forward this year and lend a helping hand to the defense who has bailed them out so many times before.
The Ravens are facing a very tough schedule in 2012 and the media is already starting to count them out and all we have had is OTA’s. In the Ravens case its better to be counted out and be the underdog, they thrive in that role. Everyone is saying Suggs is out, Lewis is another year older, Reed doesn’t show up for mandatory workouts, but what they are forgetting is that we have a young talented team. Our secondary is primed to be the best in football with Webb, Smith, and Williams at corner and Reed and Pollard at safety. The defensive line is stout with Ngata, Cody, and McPhee. The offense lead by Flacco, Rice, Boldin, Smith and the tight ends, I like my chances. Lets all take a deep breath and see what happens when the ball is finally kicked off on Monday night September 10 at M&T Bank Stadium when the Bengals come to town. Everyone repeat after me in Ozzie we trust! Let’s Go Ravens!

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