Whether it’s due to his injuries or performance, or both, Joe Flacco is without a doubt a lightning rod in Baltimore.
There seems to be very little grey area when it comes to Joe. You either pledge your full support or you long for the post-Flacco era to begin. Count me among the few in the grey area.
Now regular visitors to RSR and to my column, might mistakenly place me in the corner that doesn’t back Flacco. I support Joe 100% and I root for the greatness that we observed during January and February of 2013 to be on display more consistently. But that hasn’t happened and it triggers frustration.
We all know what Flacco is capable of. He just doesn’t deliver it consistently. He’s a bit like the Counting Crows. They delivered a fantastic record back in 1993 with August and Everything After. But like the Crows, everything after Super Bowl 47 hasn’t been all that for the Ravens signal caller. Sure, he had a solid 2014 campaign, but then he was complemented by a very good ground attack, the NFL’s 8th best that season in terms of yards, 6th best in average yards per carry (4.5).
So, there’s been a lot to criticize and not enough to praise, particularly given the level of his contract. The Ravens paid for more than they are getting. And when highly paid players’ performances fall short of their pay grade, problems can and do surface, especially if the draft harvest falls short of expectations.
ESPN’s Bill Barnwell invited Vince Verhei, a former colleague of his from Football Outsiders on to his podcast recently, and they discussed the AFC North. The two spent a good deal of time discussing Joe Flacco (you can listen HERE), and their respective sentiments, especially Verhei’s, were anything but flattering.
Here’s a sampling of what Verhei shared:
“Joe Flacco never met a checkdown he didn’t like.”
In Football Outsiders QB grading system, Flacco was ranked 26th in the league 3 out of the last 4 seasons.
“Bland, boring, ineffective guy.”
“Highly overrated, very overpaid.”
“The Ravens hitched their wagon to Flacco and it’s been a mistake for half a decade now.”
Verhei’s sentiments aside, there’s a lot of pressure for Joe to perform well in 2017.
And given his back issues, there are some who wonder if he will perform at all.