Justin Tucker as Ravens MVP? Sure…after all, who else could it be?

December 24, 2013 | Drew Forrester

Not that it matters, because it’s nothing more than a side-note in a player’s media guide biography, but Justin Tucker won the Ravens MVP award on Monday afternoon.

That shouldn’t be too startling if you’ve followed the Ravens through the first fifteen weeks of the 2013 season.  After all, Tucker has actually been the only “regular” on the team who has played above the bar of excellence typically reserved for players who earn MVP status.

Oddly enough, voting for Tucker for team MVP (as I did, admittedly, when the media ballots were distributed last week) was just as much a vote of deduction than anything else.

The other candidates were the three Smith’s — Jimmy, Daryl and Torrey, plus quarterback Joe Flacco.

None of those five came close to duplicating the overall excellence of Justin Tucker this season.

Now, if you’re one of those people who thinks it’s absurd for the team’s kicker to be the Most Valuable Player of the team, I’ll agree with you on that point.

Yes, I voted for Tucker.  I told you that already.

But, voting for the guy and also acknowledging it’s weird to have the kicker be the team’s MVP are entirely possible when you look at what transpired this season.

In short:  The Ravens offense stunk in 2013.

That eliminates Joe Flacco and Torrey Smith from the discussion.

And, while the defensive Smith’s were solid, neither of them came close to establishing the overall consistency of Tucker.

I don’t know that Jimmy Smith or Daryl Smith won any games for John Harbaugh’s team.

Justin Tucker did.

And, when you’re 8-7 and still have a puncher’s chance of making the post-season, the kicker who made the difference in four of those victories deserves the nod as the team MVP.



The kicker sure as hell isn’t the MVP in Denver, Kansas City, Seattle, Carolina or Cincinnati.

Flacco is the lightning bolt topic when it comes to the Tucker verdict in Baltimore, because he’s the $60 million man and much was expected from him after holding up both the Lombardi and MVP trophy at last February’s Super Bowl in New Orleans.

The real truth about his 2013 campaign?  It’s been average, at best.  Some would say he’s been less than average; some would counter and say with what he’s had to work with, Flacco has been better than average.

Mix all the opinions together, look at the team’s record and Flacco’s numbers and you get:  Average.

Now, were there issues outside of Flacco’s area of responsibility?

Lack of pass blockers to protect him?  You bet.

No running game to help support his arm?  Absolutely.

Wide receiving group still short a quality contributor – or two?  Yes, indeed.

Injury to Pitta a tough pill to swallow?  Of course.

But, 19 interceptions don’t lie.

It’s one thing if Flacco doesn’t produce a 30 TD, 4,000 yard season given the limits I listed above, combined with the anticipated “Super Bowl hangover” that nearly every veteran has likely experienced to some degree in 2013.

But, he hasn’t even reached 20 TD’s yet.  And he’ll need 280 yards passing at Cincinnati on Sunday afternoon to eclipse the 4,000 yard mark for the first time ever.

Not only has he thrown the ball to the other team nineteen times, and, yes, not all 19 of those are completely “on” Flacco, — a handful of the pics were deflections or balls that should have been caught by his receivers — but he’s also fumbled it eight times, with two of those recovered by the opposition.

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10 Comments For This Post

  1. BmoreB Says:

    We had a good run…. 5 straight years in the playoffs, culminating in SB 47

    P.S. It wasn’t just Flacco that had an off year, it was everyone with the exception of 2. JT & JS were the only consistent players, no one else, no one.

  2. Robert Says:

    No arguments from me regarding Tucker as the Raven’s MVP as no other player deserved it. I too am grateful for the past 5 seasons with the Super Bowl “cherry on top”. Merry Christmas and goodwill to the WNST staff and listeners. Cheers.

  3. Steve from Sandpoint Says:

    I agree with you Drew, Flacco & the whole offense are not M.V.P. worthy, they all have to step up there game! Caldwell, I think you will see being replaced at the end of the year, he really showed nothing with the offense. MERRY CHRISTMAS to all !!!

  4. unitastoberry Says:

    Merry Christmas. I hope Ozzie tells all the scouts that we need to get at least 2 good starters from the next draft.

  5. tsnamm Says:

    I’m with you on Joe, Drew…I pointed out early in the pre-season that he was throwing too many interceptions. Back then many poo-pooed it saying “it was just the pre-season”. But the poor decision making with the football continued. I’m not sure if Joe felt he needed to justify his contract, and was trying to force the ball, or whatever, but ball security is something he will need to improve upon on in 2014. A couple of those poor decisions happened in the red and or end zone too. If he had 50% less turnovers I think that it would have had a positive impact on our record. That being said, running for his life most of the season, especially early on didn’t help matters at all. He’s also been sacked and knocked down/hit WAY more than he should have or ever has for that matter. Perhaps with some better recievers and some protection we will see a return to the Joe we had for the 1st 5 years…

  6. Dan Says:

    Who else could it be ? ,
    1ooo yards recieving , , again , , 6 touchdowns ,
    Boldin ? , , oh nevermind 😉

  7. Vince Says:

    Kind of hard to get production from running game when you only have 2 plays. Hand off left from shotgun and hand off right from shotgun.

    Rice has always had Leach in front. This year, it’s like Leach isn’t allowed to block for Rice.

  8. The Armchair QB Says:

    Who else? How ’bout Joe Flacco! How many games would they have won with Tyrod Taylor at QB?????

  9. Chuck Says:

    Dan is right. Boldin should win the MVP in absentia. Just as Peyton Manning should have won the league MVP in 2011 when the Colts won just two games in his absence, and Rodgers the Packers’ MVP this season.

    Flacco absolutely should have received no consideration. Through 16 weeks (a meaningful sample) he has the 33rd lowest passer rating, right behind Matt McGloin and right ahead of Schaub, Weeden, Manning (Eli, not Peyton), Terrelle Pryor and Geno Smith.

  10. OVER40DON Says:

    I seem to see Ladarius making an awful lot tackles and don’t remember him having a bad game. Of course on TV coverage you don’t see everything but for a small guy he sure seemed to be in on a lot of tackles.

    Does it count against the salary cap for coaches? Pay Ray Lewis millions if it doesn’t. His persona alone is worth it. He could be the 1st coach in the history of the NFL leading his team unto the field.

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