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The Caw: Joe Flacco's Stiff Arm

Posted Sep 27, 2013

Can Joe Flacco challenge the top quarterbacks for best stiff arm?

Joe Flacco has a cannon for a right arm.

He has a steel rod for a left arm.

A play that stuck out to me this season was Joe Flacco’s stiff arm on 6-foot-6, 310-pound Cleveland Browns defensive end Desmond Bryant in Week 2.

The Ravens had a third-and-5 from their own 37. Flacco was in the shotgun when Bryant stunted and came up the middle, flushing Flacco to his right. He looked back and gave Bryant a “talk to the hand,” sending him careening to the turf.

Unfortunately, Flacco’s pass still went incomplete. But I left chucking about the stiff arm. Flacco really made it look easy.

I finally got a chance to ask Flacco about his stiff arm this week. Here’s what he had to say:

“I don’t know if I’ve ever bragged [about my stiff arm],” he said with a chuckle.

“I’ve kind of always had that, even since high school. When you’re rolling out of the pocket, obviously to the right – when you’re to the left, the ball is usually in my right hand – it’s just kind of a natural reaction to get it out.”

But he has unnatural ability. I don’t get to see every quarterback around the league, but I hardly ever see Ravens defenders getting halted by opponents.

“I probably have decently long arms,” Flacco said. “I am 6-6, so you can kind of keep people off of you a little bit. But yeah, I haven’t really thought about it too much.”

Flacco also busted out the stiff arm in Super Bowl XLVII when 49ers linebacker Ahmad Brooks had him in his sights. Flacco shook him off, rolled to his right and launched a pass 30 yards down the sideline to Anquan Boldin.

I also remember a Flacco play from 2010 when he ran over Broncos inside linebacker D.J. Williams on a 9-yard run.

Overall, I just think Flacco’s a throwback. He’s just a football player, not one of these quarterbacks who complains all the time when he gets hit and makes a big show of it.

For example, he got busted on the chin last week by the Texans’ Whitney Mercilus, which drew a $15,000 fine. Besides the 15-yard penalty, which Flacco rarely gets, the play went pretty much unnoticed because Flacco didn’t make a big stink about it.

I’d rather see a quarterback shed a tackle than complain about one.

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