Let's Hope Joe Flacco Does More This OffseasonPosted on March 21, 2014 by Phil Gentile
There is no doubt in my mind that NFL quarterbacks are the most important player on the football field, maybe in all of sports. Just ask a fan of the Cleveland Browns or Minnesota Vikings, two teams that have been struggling for years because of their lack of consistent production under center. Joe Flacco takes quite a bit of criticism from Ravens fans (me in particular) and this situation is no different. After being rewarded with a big contract followed by posting subpar numbers, fans are hoping to see Flacco spend at least part of this offseason working out with his teammates in the hopes of improving on their lackluster 8-8 season.
Let me make it perfectly clear......Joe Flacco was NOT the only reason the Ravens struggled in 2013. He's probably not even the biggest reason (that would likely go to the offensive line). However, he was awful at times and after six seasons in the league should be getting better, not worse. He's the leader of this team and the face of the organization. Now is the time for Flacco to take the next step.
Professional football is a tough sport. It's physically taxing and after a long season a player needs (and deserves) to take a break. I could never criticize a player for taking a vacation or two with their family. That doesn't mean I don't raise an eyebrow when I see Ben Roethlisberger, Jay Cutler, Colin Kaepernick, among others putting in work with their receivers during the offseason to make improvements in their game.
Not sure about you but in order to out work your peers sometimes you have to push yourself. Often times it's the work you put in after hours that makes you great. Especially when you only work nine months a year.
The Ravens currently have four receivers under contract. Steve Smith and Jacoby Jones recently signed their contracts, Torrey Smith is expecting his first child any day now, and Marlon Brown is down in Athens attending classes at the University of Georgia. Plus, with a new offensive coordinator the playbook probably isn't in their hands yet. For all these reasons I'm not up in arms that some sort of offseason workouts haven't happened yet. However, if it doesn't happen from now until the "voluntary" Ravens workouts start at the end of April I will be completely disappointed in our quarterback.
Am I saying Joe Flacco won't be doing some of these things later this offseason? Of course not. I'm not psychic. All I can base my opinions on is that he has yet to workout with his receivers this offseason and it didn't happen at all last year following the team's Super Bowl victory. I don't care how much money Flacco is getting paid in 2014 or if he took a couple vacations with his family this offseason. From what we saw during the 8-8 campaign it's clear that he has room for improvement. Can you get better by putting in the same amount of work you did the previous year? No chance in hell. Hopefully Flacco and company will get together next month to get a leg up on the competition. For the Ravens to be great he needs to be a leader more than just sixteen days a year.