NFL: Is Cool Joe Ready?

by Zack Cimini
Baltimore is one of those teams that enters 2012 with a last gasp left. In the era of free agency keeping a team intact for the long haul is tough to do.Defensively veterans such as Ray Lewis and Ed Reed are still around. Age has not prevented them from still being team leaders. 2012 success though will not be from the play of their defense.
Offenses are too talented and can pick apart any defense, even Baltimore’s. If this team is going to get to the destination they want it will be dependant on Joe Flacco.

Flacco has been a hot and cold quarterback in his career thus far. Displaying a cannon arm, Flacco can hit the deep ball on occassion. Where he has struggled is with consistency of play. The offense may call more pass plays on a given week based on a breakout performance from Flacco the week prior. Instead of seeing some advancement from Joe, he declines and the offense stalls.
That forces the Ravens to go to a more simplistic offense. Involving Ray Rice more, doing dump off passes and limiting his down field throws. It’s puzzling to see this trend so much from Flacco because he seems ready to take hold of the league. All it takes is that one game to propel an athlete.
Has that game already occurred for Flacco? Maybe so, his heroic comeback against the Pittsburgh Steelers was not only counted against, but one of the top finishes in the NFL last season. Afterwards Flacco remained as usual with his cool demeanor, but you know he was on cloud nine.
All you have to do is look at Flacco’s last three seasons of passing yards to know that Baltimore has kept him in neutral. His past three seasons of yards thrown have not varied beyond twelve yards. Throwing for 3,613 yards in 2009, 3,622 yards in 2010, and 3,610 yards last season.
Baltimore has to unleash him this season and live or die with Flacco. It’ll make Ray Rice more of a weapon, and feed the wideouts and tight ends appropriately. They have all the tools offensively to let Flacco flourish. There is no reason to hold back quarterbacks in this day and age of the NFL. The fact that Flacco threw below 200 yards seven games last year and six of those were below 175 yards is mind-boggling.
Joe thinks he is a top level quarterback and needs to start playing like it beyond a half season. With Pittsburgh having a banged up Ben Roethlisberger and uncertainty at running back, Baltimore could run away with this division.
From a fantasy standpoint Flacco currently barely cracks the top twenty in many rankins. Deservedly so based on his tenure and zero advancement from a fantasy perspective.

This year there is no reason that he can’t rise well beyond those early rankings. Landing in the top twelve to fifteen is very reachable.
Tag Flacco as your fantasy backup and you will be happy you did. He should surpass 4,000 yards finally and get near 27 to 30 touchdowns thrown.


You must be logged in to post a comment.