Never before has quarterback Joe Flacco been under as much scrutiny as that which he finds himself seven games into the 2016 season.
Not only is the franchise quarterback taking hits behind a suspect offensive line but also from fans and media pundits alike. The claims aren’t unfounded, and some would say they are long overdue.
Joe’s biggest critic however? Himself.
“I am obviously not playing good enough,” said the quarterback after Wednesday’s practice. “We are not a good offense, and it starts with the quarterback.
“I have to be better. We have to be more precise, and that starts with me – just more consistent overall. Those are the issues, just being precise and consistency.”
The most glaring issue for anyone watching has been that Flacco’s mechanics have been off. While he’s been known to lapse into poor mechanics (specifically throwing off his back foot) at times during his career, the frequency with which he’s doing so this year is glaring. The errant and floating throws caused by this breakdown in form have greatly contributed to incomplete passes, stalled drives, and his six interceptions.
This is a far cry from the Flacco reporters saw during training camp. Back in summer, Joe was sure-footed and stepping into his throws.
Some point to the health of his offensive line as reasoning for those struggles, and Flacco acknowledges that as well.
“Building a good team always starts up front, and it starts with those guys,” responded Flacco when asked about the importance of a healthy offensive line. “We are going to try to overcome anything we can, but those guys are a huge part of our success.
“Having everybody be healthy goes into that. Obviously, everybody deals with little things here and there, and each team has their own issues with that. It will definitely be a big part of it.”
The leader of the offense knows it isn’t just one thing that’s causing his side of the ball to falter.
He did offer his insight as to what his 20th-ranked offense can do to improve things, but it won’t be an easy task.
“When you are an offense in this league and things are not going great, a lot of the times you can be so close,” Flacco said. “I think we are on that verge of being really close. But it is a bunch of little things, and it is not just one thing; it is things that add up. It is the short passing game that you are not always just completing with your eyes closed.
“Every now and then, you miss one, and it stops your drive. It is penalties. It is a little bit of protection. It is a little bit of run game. It is very little things that can be cleaned up pretty quickly. But at the same time, when you have that many things going on, you have to be really focused for a full 60 minutes and every single play. Everybody on the team has to. That is why this game is an awesome thing – 11 guys have to be fully locked in for 60 minutes in order for it to work. Nobody notices that.
“We do not even notice it when we are out there playing. But it is the reality of it. Right now, we just have one guy here and there doing something that is a little bit off – myself involved – and it halts a whole drive. When that happens throughout the course of the game and you have a good amount of those, it leads to what we have been dealing with, which is not putting any points on the board and not giving ourselves really any opportunities to put any points on the board.
“I don’t think we had any red zone opportunities this past week, and you are not going to score a lot of points when that happens.”
Time certainly isn’t on the side of Flacco and the Ravens as they head into their bye week. In order for the offense to compete, the aforementioned issues must be corrected STAT.
If not, Ravens fans will be computing where the Ravens will be drafting in 2017 by Week 10.
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