For quarterback Joe Flacco 2013 was a disappointing season to say the very least.
In 2013, Flacco set career highs in passing yards (3,912) along with passing attempts (614), but also in interceptions (22) as well, while throwing for just 19 touchdowns.
Some will say that his careers highs were a byproduct of an inept running game while others will say it was his offensive line giving him zero protection as he was sacked a career high 48 times. Both are valid points indeed. Joe certainly isn’t without fault as the former Super Bowl MVP showed his inconsistencies week in and week out.
Some players are media lighting rods. Attracting attention with comments made during press conferences for all the wrong reasons. Flacco is the the exact polar opposite of those headline hogs, yet seemingly he is scrutinized for remarks made at the podium.
It began in April of 2012 when Flacco’s agent Joe Linta told members of the media that he thought Joe was a top-five quarterback in the league. Flacco echoed Linta’s comments telling a local sports radio station (WNST) that he believed he was the best quarterback in the NFL while using that five-letter word many now disdain — ELITE.
Yet before a quarterback can actually become elite he has to envision himself as such.
The self-description was smeared by skeptics.
This offseason Flacco’s love of the game was challenged by local and national media members stemming from his failure to get together with his receivers prior to OTA’s, minicamp or training camp.
As Flacco and the Ravens kicked off training camp on Tuesday, the tall gunslinger spoke once again spoke to the media following his first practice and was peppered with questions that stopped just short of the ridiculous.
When asked whether he has certain expectations for the new offense being installed by new coordinator Gary Kubiak, Flacco was all business.
“I think we did a great job picking up what we’ve installed so far. I think we’ve installed it, most of it, three separate times now, so everybody has a pretty good overview of it. We’re still going to make mistakes, but they have to be corrected quickly, and you can’t be making them again and again.
“You have to come out here right after that, and that mistake should be gone. I think we can expect a pretty high level of pace, and I think we can expect a pretty high level of precision being that we’ve done it for a couple of months, and that’s what I’m going to expect. I’m going to expect us to go out there and operate at a high level. I don’t care if it’s a new offense or not.”
The quarterback who is now working with his third offensive coordinator since his arrival in Baltimore had a certain swagger with his words, direct with his point: No more excuses for the offense!
“We’ve got a couple weeks, and we’re going to be playing real games, and we’ve got to execute at a high level in order to win those because they’re going to come down to little things like that,” when asked about whether he was in execution mode when it comes to plays.
“That’s why we can’t expect to come out here and make little mistakes. We’ve got to have that stuff cleaned up, and come out here and operate so that we can translate it to Sunday.”
It’s crazy to think that there won’t be hurdles to overcome or bumps in the road regarding the new system for Joe but it appears as if he has been re-energized by Gary Kubiak and Rick Dennison.
Dare I even utter the word leader?
“[It’s about] just coming out here with confidence and trying to get that across to everybody else. I think that’s going to be big for us this year, just coming out here and playing confident and making a decision and sticking with it.
“I think when we come out here, starting with me, if I can execute at a high level and show everybody else that they should execute at a high level and they will execute at a high level, I think we’ll get that confidence to go out there on Sundays and kind of play with a little bit of swagger. I think that’s what it’s going to take.”
Again brash statements once again made by Joe that will undoubtedly be used against him if the offense does not drastically improve in 2014.
Follow me on @sportguyRSR