Joe Flacco has played in 93 consecutive games in the NFL. In fact the last game that he missed was back during his freshman year at the University of Pittsburgh in 2004.
To say the least Flacco is durable and his toughness is understated. During his 5 year career the Super Bowl XLVII MVP has been sacked 180 times in regular season play, once every 15 times he drops back to throw. And while this may seem like a lot, it is pretty close to being the league average during that time.
Ben Roethlisberger has hit the turf 221 times over the same 5 year span. The Steelers’ signal caller, generally considered to be a tough player, is sacked once every 12 times he attempts to throw. Those painful thumps have sidelined Roethlisberger for 8 games since the start of the 2008 season.
We’ve seen just how much less threatening a team the Steelers are without Roethlisberger. Fortunately the Ravens haven’t been faced with similar adversity.
But what if they are challenged by a Flacco injury?
Are the Ravens prepared?
Can Tyrod Taylor guide the team for a game here and there if and when Flacco is forced to the sidelines to mend?
What if the former Hokie has to lead for an extended period of time?
Taylor is an exceptional athlete and clearly capable of making big plays. But one would think that offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell would have to flip his playbook upside down to accommodate and fully utilize the skill set of Taylor. He and Flacco could not be more polar opposites from a physical tools perspective.
Everyone would be forced to adjust.
The offensive line may change their blocking schemes to create throwing lanes for the diminutive Taylor. Perhaps his drops are quicker than Flacco’s and that could disrupt timing with the receivers.
The potential adjustments are many and with those adjustments the chances for error increase.
But if the Ravens had a capable back up more like Flacco in style, the adjustments would be fewer and the margin for error less. This isn’t meant as an indictment of Taylor but more a criticism of having such a backup so vastly different than the starter.
If the Ravens are lucky, the topic will continue to be the non-issue it has been over the past five seasons.
And then maybe we can start calling Flacco the Ravens answer to Cal Ripken, Jr.