The Level of Difficulty in What Joe Flacco has Accomplished/ The Passing League Mantra
We all agree that Joe Flacco is not in the highest echelon of QBs in the NFL, a place reserved for six players at the moment. However, I think that part of the reason why Joe is lumped in a group with so many so-called 'interchangeable' QBs is, because some understate the level of difficulty involved with what Joe has accomplished.
First off, he was drafted into the AFC North. Every QB gets hurt in this division. Yet, Joe Flacco has not missed a single game. It all starts with being on the field and I don't believe that many QBs would be able to sustain the hits that are delivered in this division and not miss a single game, in almost five years. Joe's durability is probably the most understated aspect of his quality, when you talk with those who see him as an average QB. Just look at how many QBs just can't stay healthy. Matthew Stafford. Jay Cutler. Their lack of durability is holding their teams back from taking full steps forward and after a while, they will be back to the drawing board. Not only has Joe not had much of a better offensive line than Cutler, but he's had it in a not so ideal division for the problem. Yet, he has remained healthy.
Second, Joe Flacco, as I have said several times, was not given the reigns to this offense from jump street. He was not allowed to sling it and was not asked to become the top QB in the league. The environment he was drafted into, did not lend itself to developing top quality QBs. It was asked of Joe to take a back seat to the defense and rush offense, only coming 'off the bench, cold', sort of speak, to make crucial throws here and there.
Greg Cosell talked, in detail, about the level of difficulty for Joe Flacco in this offense, about how he is constantly asked to make pinpoint throws in the smallest of windows, compared to other QBs and other offenses.
Third, Joe Flacco has provided stability. Once upon a time, 'Joe Flacco won, because of the defense'. With injuries all over the place and rushing yards piling up at a record pace for this team's defense, Joe has led this team to an 8-2 record. Joe has also done a good job of not being the reason the Ravens lose a game. In almost five full years, there aren't five games that we can look back to and honestly say that 'he' was 'thee' reason why we lost. The reality is that Joe Flacco is not going to lose you a game and that is far more valuable than some want to acknowledge.
At the same time, he has shown that he can step up in the big games and win you those games. Do you think a Matt Ryan, would have been able to orchestrate that drive against Pittsburgh last year, in their house? How about that drive against the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game? Ryan has had some clutch moments during the regular season, but he has not had to deal with Pittsburgh twice a year.
I've purposely name dropped along the way. You have guys like Stafford and Cutler, who can make the throws, much like Flacco, but aren't nearly as durable. You have guys like Ryan who can put up the stats, but who haven't shown that clutch playoff nature. A week after Ryan threw the interception that ended his debut against Arizona, Joe was leading the game winning drive against the Tennessee Titans in their house. Then, you have other QBs who might have the durability, but who might not have the arm.
Joe has all of those qualities and an even brighter future ahead of him. In all honesty, we could only name six or so QBs who could legitimately come here, under the same circumstances (talent, system, division, culture) and be as successful.
It lends itself to the most important aspect of the game, the 'W'. However, it does not lend itself to the gaudy statistics that are attractive to some.
There have been other QBs in the past who have dealt with this. Ben, as I mentioned in another thread, dealt with it early in his career. He didn't put up the statistics, everyone raved about Rivers, while Ben put up the wins and made the plays in the fourth quarter. Before that, you had Brady and Manning. The Super Bowl would be the ultimate silencer, especially with the defense not looking as good as it once did. Here's to it happening in February.
"When questioned, the Elders explained that they were in search of magical powers. However, they're actually searching for the whereabouts of a certain ring. This ring is a legendary treasure that long ago was known to exist"