Seeing Flacco Leave Is Hard

Street Talk Seeing Flacco Leave Is Hard

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But It’s The Right Move For The Ravens

 

Most Baltimore fans expected Joe Flacco to leave during the 2019 offseason, but that hasn’t made it any easier on the Ravens’ faithful. After a decade of service, the Ravens have chosen to trade Flacco away to the Denver Broncos – putting complete faith in young quarterback Lamar Jackson. The heart says it’s a bad move, but the head knows it to be the correct call.

The Ravens were 4-5 on the year entering their bye week in 2018. Flacco was injured, and Baltimore’s chances of reaching the playoffs were bleak at best. Enter Jackson. Led by the rookie quarterback, Baltimore won six of their final seven games down the stretch to snatch the AFC North title. It was a truly remarkable turnaround and Jackson’s play as a quarterback was central to the revival.

When fans started calling for Flacco to replace Jackson in Baltimore’s playoff defeat to the Los Angeles Chargers, John Harbaugh stood firm. The team had announced in December that Harbaugh would be granted a contract extension and the Ravens have honored that commitment. Harbaugh sees Jackson as his starting quarterback now and keeping a player of Flacco’s caliber on the bench seems pointless.

Jackson is never going to win any awards for most passing yards, but he is relatively safe throwing the ball, and that helped the Ravens in 2018. He threw just three interceptions on 170 pass attempts last year. Flacco is more willing to take a risk, but that can sometimes backfire – at least Jackson can run out of trouble, as shown by his 695 yards on 147 attempts.

Doubters must now ask themselves who gives Baltimore the best chance of success, Flacco or Jackson? Questions remain over how good Joe Flacco is in today’s NFL, considering the sport has changed drastically over the last 10 years. Jackson’s ability to run from the quarterback position plays into Baltimore’s hands; it takes the pressure off their defensive unit and also helps to keep opposing defenses honest.

Making the step up from college football to the NFL is never easy, but the Ravens have made that switch simple enough for Jackson. Baltimore condensed its playbook, but Harbaugh will work closely with the former Louisville Cardinals star ahead of the 2019 campaign to build a rapport on offense. Defense may win championships, but offense can win games, and Jackson needs to be capable of leading a game-winning drive.

First and foremost, Baltimore will want to reach the playoffs in 2019. Winning the AFC North title for the second year in a row would sit well with fans, but keeping the team ticking over on an upward trajectory is more important. Harbaugh has complete faith in Jackson, and it is now time for the Ravens fan base to go all in on the 22-year-old.

Accept that the Joe Flacco era is over.

This is Jackson’s team now.

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Michael O'Nair

About Michael O'Nair

Our sometimes Media Watchdog, Michael O'Nair enjoys keeping an eye on the happenings in local Baltimore sports airwaves. He also keeps an eye on the betting lines, letting you know when to hold, when to fold, and when to go all in on the Ravens. More from Michael O'Nair
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