“When you lose three straight, people look at the quarterback, that’s part of the job. I think a lot is made and sometimes it really isn’t that much, and it’s not my job to really listen to [the criticism], so I don’t. … I believe in myself. I believe in this team.”
--Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens Quarterback, who leads the Ravens today against the Indianapolis Colts in an AFC wild-card game, despite a current three game losing streak.
Flacco has displayed resiliency as a fifth-year quarterback. He has now led the Ravens to AFC North titles in back-to-back seasons, and has another shot at a playoff run.
The Ravens have won at least one playoff game each year since Flacco became their starting quarterback as a rookie in 2008, and they are going back to the postseason this year. His individual performances, however, haven’t matched his team’s success.
Over his career, Flacco has only completed 60.5 percent of his passes in regular-season action, and has thrown at least 10 interceptions per season. His postseason numbers are even worse.
While he has won five playoff games in four seasons, he has completed just 54.3 percent of his passes for 170.2 yards per game in nine career playoff games, and has an even number of touchdowns and interceptions thrown with eight apiece.
In spite of his overall success, Flacco is not seen as an elite quarterback by many critics. This year Flacco was the 12th-ranked passer in the NFL with 22 touchdowns, 10 interceptions and 3,817 yards.Though, it is doubtful that the Ravens would be back in the playoffs without his leadership.
“I think it says that he’s a very good quarterback, number one,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said. “It also says that he has a lot of determination, a lot of pride, and he was able to handle that. That’s probably the biggest thing. You have to have thick skin, skin like an armadillo.”
His teammates spoke highly of what Flacco was able to do with his back against the wall.
“I’ve always said that he’s handled the pressure better than anybody I’ve ever seen,” running back Ray Rice said. “He’s done a great job handling it – and as I said, we go as Joe goes.”
“I think Joe plays big every week,” tight end Ed Dickson added. “When Joe is in the zone, he looks like one of the best quarterbacks out there. We told him as an offensive group that we have his back. … I think Joe stepped up big and he showed a little emotion today.”
It appears that the Ravens have committed to have Flacco as their long-term quarterback. He is in the last year of his contract and many expect him to re-sign with the Ravens.
"In terms of arm talent, he's a top five guy," Rich Gannon, pro football analyst says. "For a 6-6, 245 guy, he's very athletic. The question for Joe is about stepping up — with Ray Lewis retiring, Joe is going to have to step outside his comfort zone and be more demanding of teammates, play more of a demonstrative leadership role."
Excerpts from Bleacher Report.com (12/17/2012), USA Today (1/4/2013), ESPN.com.
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