Flacco’s Bad Habit

Flacco Dismayed

Whether it’s related to politics, music, sports, motion pictures, you name it, it seems these days that whenever someone is critical of someone or something they are labeled “hater”.

I suppose then that when parents correct their children and are critical of undesirable behaviors they are “haters” too?

It’s an overused term and really it’s a cop out.

The term is embraced by many who are apparently more comfortable sticking their heads in the sand and hope that a problem goes away by dishing out more hugs, support, new toys and cotton candy.

As Chris Rock once said, “I guess that’s how you was raised!”

I’ve been labeled by some out there (you know who you are) as a John Harbaugh hater and a Joe Flacco hater. That’s sheer lunacy. This website was born out of my love and passion for the Baltimore Ravens.

Many in the media – in fact most, will not express or admit their fandom. For some they aren’t fans at all. They believe that it is a sign of weakness and compromises their objectivity. I get that, but that’s not me. I wear the fandom like a badge of honor.

When the Ravens lose it kills me. I barely feel like watching any of the other NFL games and I dread having to dial up NFL Gameday Rewind and watch the game again in order to properly dissect the results and share my opinions with you on this piece of cyber real estate.

Let me be very clear…Harbaugh is BY FAR my favorite head coach because he’s MY guy. Same thing for Flacco – he’s MY quarterback (in my best Adam Schein voice). Criticisms directed their way by me are done so because I think they can both be so much better. BUT to be better they have to accept, act upon and correct their flaws otherwise what you see is what you’ll always get.

And for me that’s just not good enough. I’m sure you agree.

So with that in mind I’d like to direct you towards one of my pet peeves as it relates to Flacco – predetermining his throws.

We all painstakingly remember the pick 6 in Chicago and yes I get that Ray Rice missed a cut block. But unexpected things do happen post-snap and because Flacco decided pre-snap where he was going with the ball, bad things can and do happen.

“I saw Vonta (Leach) open in the flat and the next thing you know, I saw a guy run the other way with the football… he was just a lineman”, Flacco said following the loss to the Bears.

“You’re not really paying too much attention to him. You’re trying to get a read down field and we had just a little curl-flat combo going, and Vonta came pretty open.”

Maybe you SHOULD pay attention Joe!

Fast-forward to the 1:07 mark of the first half with the Ravens facing a third and 16.

Flacco momentarily glances to his left. It is purely head movement to pull the safety away from Joe’s intended target. Joe didn’t hold the glance long enough to be effective nor did he actually “see” that half of the field when his head pivoted that way. Had he trusted his eyes and not his pre-determined target he would have spotted Torrey Smith to the left who had found an opening that could have produced a first down.

Instead Flacco goes with the primary receiver for the play called (by Jim Caldwell, Harbaugh or some combination thereof), lets it fly and it becomes his second interception of the half – an interception that the Bears converted into 3 points.

“I was just trying to give Dallas (Clark) a 1-on-1 shot up the middle where he was running with the MIKE linebacker and the guy made a pretty decent play.”

Pretty decent play? The only thing missing from that gift was a pretty bow.

Pre-determining his throw convinced Joe that Clark would have 1-on-1 coverage. Obviously he didn’t.

Pre-determining throws cost the Ravens 10 points and until this stops, Flacco, despite the hot 5-game stretch to conclude the 2012 season, will never amount to anything more than an “Above Average Joe” with an elite paycheck.

Things like that can stymie the progress of a franchise.

This isn’t hate, just observations of a bad habit that needs to be corrected.

Unless of course you think that somehow this bad habit will magically go away on its own.

Frosted Lucky Charms anyone?

 

RELATED ARTICLE: Predict Joe Flacco’s Passer Rating Tomorrow and WIN!

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About Tony Lombardi

Tony Lombardi
Tony is 24x7 Networks, LLC's founder (the parent of EutawStreetReport.com and RussellStreetReport.com) His work has been featured on various sports websites and he is a regular guest on 105.7 The Fan. A diehard Fab Four fan, Tony is a frustrated musician who thinks beating on the steering wheel is akin...more

33 Raves on “Flacco’s Bad Habit

  1. T-Sizzle on said:

    I most definitely agree here. I am very glad that there are experts of our team who are saying the same things as me about Flacco. He has the tools to be an elite QB, but his brain isn’t there… yet. Will it ever be? I don’t know, he’s shown flashes of being able to turn the corner, but he isn’t exactly what you would call young anymore either. He’s not 30 yet, but he’s also not 24 anymore either. Good analysis Tony.

    • Larrrie on said:

      Agreed. I still feel the pain from losing the PB game years ago when Joe steps to the line and Troy P the safety from PB is showing Joe he is gonna come on a blizt. Joe looks right at him and calls the predetermined play. Joe fumbles from that hit. Cost us points. We lose a close game. Granted Oher was on the left side and could have made a better effort. However, Joe has to see that the Steeler’s best defensive guy is over there! Afterwards, he said something like “I saw him but I thought I coiuld beat his rush” at least he admitted to seeing him that time. Hope he gats better!!

  2. The Truth on said:

    It’s always very easy to criticize something after the fact. When it works they’re a genius , when it fails, they’re a putz.
    If they take a chance on something and it works ,they are gutsy , if they don’t they are cowards.
    That’s what nervous fans do, professionals should have a little more insight.
    Joe and this team didn’t have all this success by not knowing what to do to win, so give them a little credit for their achievements, I mean we did just win a SB and that don’t happen every year for the same team.
    We are in position to still make the playoffs for the 6th straight year, 3 home games, Pitta coming back and when we beat the Jets tomorrow, we will have the 6th seed. A little optimism please !!

      • Damon Why Simpson on said:

        I really think Tony made a great point! I love my team and my QB he said exactly what I believes to be true. Just some minor adjustments will take us a long way in many years to come!

      • eric on said:

        generally the truth is right, idiots look at results then second guess. In this instance you’ve backed up your opinion by clearly showing what Joe did wrong and continues to do wrong.

      • The Truth on said:

        I don’t see how you figure that I’m proving your point with simply pointing out an optimistic view instead of a critical one.
        I never called you a hater, just disagree with all the negativity.
        There is a title for people who kick their team when they are down, they’re called fair weather fans. I don’t think you are one, but you are feeding them with negative comments.
        And the sarcastic “ugh” in your response to me was uncalled for.

        • Tony LombardiTony Lombardi on said:

          The problems properly addressed represent opportunities in work clothes. Wiping the crust out of Joe’s eyes and giving him a lollipop before the work is done is counterproductive IMO. Fix the problems and given the mediocrity of the league, hope and optimism will be restored.

        • Blackheart from Maryland Pride Forever on said:

          Its okay Truth… I know what you mean…. We see people who will blame the QB and Coach when we lose and praise the Defense when we win in a high scoring blowout that was produced by Flacco…. i have a problem when a QB is blamed for 3 plays where he didnt throw to the open reciever….. thats easy said than done when your Offensive line isnt blocking to begin with…. how about you talk about ray rice running into pileups or offensive linemen at the goal line? or the Defense allowing major yardage down the field? …. when you critisize how about telling the whole loss as a Team and not using that big contract to point the finger at one man… ~Blackheart

  3. skaughtz on said:

    Yes, Flacco is having a bad year. You would have to be blind or stupid to argue otherwise. As you correctly pointed out, his impulse to throw to the primary receiver is partly responsible for his regression compared to last year.

    However, I disagree with your conclusion that this behavior is primarily the result of a pre-snap determination. Instead, I think the real cause is the horrific play of the offensive line leading to the necessity of quick decision making. Flacco has been hurried and beaten to a pulp this year because the offensive line has, for lack of a better word, totally sucked. Juan Cast. lo and his zone blocking scheme can be blamed for that. Given this lack of protection, rarely has there been time for plays to develop fully or for Flacco to accurately survey the field to determine which receiver is best situated. As such, I hardly find it surprising that Flacco, understanding before the snap how the play is going to unfold, is relying on it to do so more than he has in past years. It iisn’t as though the guy has any other choice.
    Should Torrey have gotten the ball on the play you cited? Absolutely. Would we also be complaining if Flacco began throwing to his first read every time? We have already had that conversation before. Does this make me a “Flacco excuser?” No more than it makes you a “hater.”

  4. Big Money on said:

    Using “hater” isn’t a cop out, it just means someone is unfairly or irrationally criticizing someone. Like when people call Justin Bieber gay when dude clearly pulls. Yeah his music sucks and he looks like a bitch, doesn’t mean you have to go and say shit that’s not true cuz you’re mad.

  5. gldglvr on said:

    I like positives, too. I think your analysis would be better received (if that’s what you would like…or maybe you’re like a talk show person creating controversy) if it were balanced by praise. Didn’t Joe do anything right in that game? If you praised the really good plays, and criticized the goofs as well as you did in this article, people would see you as objective, not a “wearer of rose colored glasses” or a “hater”.

  6. RavenousD on said:

    Love John and Joe, and couldn’t agree with you more. It can’t be our o-line, slow WR’s and lack of separation every year….Joe is really the common denominator. He still is lacking something (I do believe he can still grow and be great), and your argument makes a ton of sense. Great article Tony!

  7. Tony J on said:

    Great article. One of my biggest fears is that Flacco never reaches his full potential because of some of the things he still does that plaqued him as a rookie. You touched on one of them here, i.e. his tendency to predetermine where the ball is going. If he is going to take the next step in his progression and go from average to good, he is going to have to trust his eyes, like you said and be less robotic. Another thing he tends to do, especially when the pressure is on (after he has made a bad play) is lock onto his primary receiver. Good D coordinators will take away his first (and sometimes second) read and use someone to spy on Ray Rice, which effectively nullifies the passing game. I want Flacco to succeed as much as the next fan, but his limitations to me are apparent, and I’m not one to be blinded by homerism. Keep up the good work.

    • Larrrie on said:

      Good points. The answer to those problems is to speed up the O. Notice how much better Joe plays when he is in “hurry Up Mode”? He is just reacting and not thinking. He plays sooooo much better. Wish our coaching staff realized this and used it more often.

  8. Rants N Ravens on said:

    Couldn’t agree more with your article. Better field vision is what makes the great ones great, not just throwing it up and praying your receivers are tough enough to make the contested catch. I love Joe as much as the next Ravens fan but if we are ever going to put him in the same category as the “elite” ones, he has to continue to improve in that area among others.

  9. BoldinRaver on said:

    Tony, you are insightful and I love RSR but why does an article about Joe start with so many paragraphs justifying your critical analysis? It’s unnecessary. This is a blog. If your insight is crap, we’ll let you know. This idea that people expect you to be a team toady is an overused strawman. See Preston.

  10. Mike M on said:

    I’m not saying you could be considered a ‘hater’ for this article, but so many times people forget that constructive criticism is supposed to be just that, constructive. You can criticise whatever you want to about a particular subject, but the majority of people seem to forget that something uplifting needs to be added to that criticism for it to be valid, which happens to be a majority of the criticism about Joe Flacco. I hear the same old crap of ‘he’s not elite,’ and ‘he’s just an average QB who doesn’t deserve the contract,’ but that isn’t constructive at all, it’s just stupid comments from even stupider people. If he isn’t elite tell me why and then tell me how it can be fixed or get the hell out of my face. To say something is broken is useless, unless you know know how to fix it, and that’s the central beef I have with so many article like yours, but not yours because you actually offer a constructive element to this article that helps better understand the woes Joe’s going through currently.

  11. Leslie on said:

    You’re not a hater, Tony. You’re free to express your opinion on any given day. We might not agree with you’re opinion, but everyone’s opinion needs to be respected on all levels. I just ask that open & honest opinions are expressed while players are still playing, instead of waiting until after they retire.

  12. Mattzilla on said:

    This is one of many problems on offense but not the biggest. The Ravens have been running the draw constantly out of the shotgun. Even if Rice was 100% he wouldn’t go anywhere on that stupid play. I was hoping all this nonsense would have gone away with Cam Cameron but it seems worse this season. The O line is terrible! There is talent on the line but the unit as a whole misses blocks, doesn’t open holes, and gets manhandled constantly. The fact that the Ravens lack pass protection is one of the reasons why the predetermined pass even exists. Even if we had Boldin and Pitta we still would have these problems. The strength of the Ravens this year is the defense… which who many thought would be the biggest weakness with Ray and Ed leaving.

  13. RJ on said:

    The main reason I come to this site is for its fairness and honesty when it comes to the Baltimore Ravens. As much as I love this team, they are NOT fun to watch this year, and I dare you to name one single game this season that was truly a joy on any level. The one saving grace has been our defense, but they haven’t done enough to overcome the poor play of Flacco, Rice, and the entire O-line, or the even worse coaching of Harbaugh and Juan Castillo, both of whom have singe-handley lost us at least 2-3 games with their horrid play-calling. RSR has only pointed out all of this in an absolutely fair and objective manner, and has offered more than enough common sense solutions to fix this team that most fans would agree with.

  14. Mike N on said:

    He’s five years in to his career. He’s got the ring and the big payday by playing exceptional ball for four games and pretty much mediocre to lousy ball for all the rest. He’s not going to change. He has not embraced the leadership role of an NFL QB, either emotionally as a team motivator, intellectually as a field general, or athletically as a 6′-6″ dude in control of the ball. He’s satisfied to call the play given to him and call it a day. He was average at best and has trended downward each season. Each year he shows no sign of being able to dissect a defense and exploit its weakness, rather instead they read him like a book after this many years. He has NO sense of urgency – there’s always later with him. All this, even though he has had Jim Zorn and the “incredible” Jim Caldwell dedicated to his development specifically. He’s actually gotten worse and shows no signs that he is working harder to see the defense coming and audible out of jeopardy. His clock management is amateurish, just like his HC. Even with two seasons of Caldwell – supposedly the mentor of Peyton Manning (yeah right) there is not a single hint of Manning’s skills or approach evident in Flacco whatsoever. It’s way too late to change his stripes. This all the Flacco you’re ever going to see – mediocrity at best.

    • Joshua on said:

      I 125% agree with this statement, Mike N. There are times when Joe looks like a rookie, and that is a huge part of the problem. Other times, he looks brilliant. I doubt we will ever see him become a week-to-week consistent performer, which is frustrating considering the money that he is being paid. I was talking to a buddy of mine about this, and I said that, in my mind, fans should be able to watch their “franchise QB” put on a decent performance just about every single week. There have been times when even the best QBs have looked off, but more often than not the great ones will put on a show for their fans. There is no reason why, with his blessed physical tools, that Joe can’t be one of those weekly 250-300 yards w/2-4 TDs stat guys. Granted, he doesn’t have the best talent around him right now, but he’s not making any pass catcher better.

  15. JerryB on said:

    OK! Here we go again….. We saw what Flacco is capable of in the playoffs last year when he was virtually……FLAWLESS! So, what did they do to “BUILD” on that? They took away his one playmaker in Boldin; then his “go to” guy went down the first week in training camp; they brought in a new, “RUN GAME COORDINATOR” to “fix” what wasn’t broken and the “O” line suddenly can’t block ANYBODY; Jacoby Jones was down for most of the first half of the season; they jettisoned McKinnie; Osemele is on IR the center is a “work in progress”….MAYBE; Yanda and Oher playing “hurt”; and both Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce have played through nagging injuries all year! And, where is the “fickle finger of fate” pointed? Why, at the QB of course! So, the MVP of last year’s Super Bowl, who tied Joe Montana’s records along the way is suddenly an inept moron! Same old horse crap; different day!!! Get a life people…..

  16. Voice of Reason on said:

    The great ones make those around them better than what they are. I agree with Mike N. If Joe wants to improve, he needs to take it upon himself. He needs to put in Peyton Manning time and work out with his teammates after regularly scheduled NFL practice is over. He needs to devote all of his waking moments to being the best. That is what separates great players from average players. Have we ever heard Flacco conducting a film study with his offense like Ray Lewis did weekly with his defense? Studying and putting into practice is what will make the difference down the road. But it has to come from Flacco. He is the QB and the leader of the team.

    • JerryB on said:

      You can’t make chicken salad out of chicken crap, which is exactly what Flacco has to work with! An “O” line that can’t pass or run block; receivers who can’t get open or hold onto the ball when it’s delivered to them; lame game planning and play calling and no running game! He is, in fact, the ONLY indispensable member of the offense. Without him, they don’t have a chance……

      • Tony LombardiTony Lombardi on said:

        Jerry, I admire your support of Joe but I don’t think you’re being completely objective, a bit blinded by your admiration.

        As you’ve said before, we’ll just agree to disagree.

        The good news, today as ugly as it was, was a step in the right direction.

  17. Norm on said:

    and yet everything JerryB shared is true…Flacco is making poor decisions because he is pressing…he bears a share of the blame to be sure…goes with the territory…he is not the problem on this team, however…look no further than the trenches…run the ball and stop the run, you win mist of your games…this season, this team has not done nearly enough of either…in the end, it’s that simple…lol

  18. Jrock on said:

    Joe found himself in a great situation in Baltimore. The Baltimore ravens have always had a great team. Our qb has always been the ??

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