Cam Cameron can't remember the last time Joe Flacco had a back practice.
It's been that long.
The fifth-year quarterback has been sharp throughout the offseason, and that has continued into the start of training camp this week.
"It's fun to watch him practice, watch him compete," Cameron said after Saturday's practice. "He has all the characteristics – as you have heard me say and everyone around here say – of the kind of quarterbacks that win in this league. And win big."
Flacco is entering the season with big expectations. He's in the final year of his rookie contract and the Ravens are currently negotiating with his agent on a long-term deal. He nearly led the Ravens to the Super Bowl last year, and recently said that he believes the team has the tools to become a top-five offense.
The Ravens have returning starters at wide receiver, tight end and a franchise running back, and the organization believes that Flacco is poised to lead the group to a big season.
"We've got a quarterback that is ready to continue on his path to becoming a great quarterback," Head Coach John Harbaugh said this week. "It's going to be fun to watch."
Despite Flacco's unprecedented success – he's won more games in his first four seasons than any quarterback in league history – he has still been a lightning rod for criticism by the national media.
Critics point to a decline in Flacco's statistics last season – his completion percentage (57.6 percent) was the lowest of his career – but Cameron said that stat doesn't fall on Flacco alone, but the entire offense. tell the entire story.
"I think competition completion percentage is an offensive stat," Cameron said. "Obviously the quarterback is saddled with it. There's some areas that we need to improve as an offense. It's every man executing his job.
"We didn't as a unit execute that the way we needed to and we've addressed that this whole offseason, I think our guys are committed to making sure that our offensive completion percentage is where we want it to be."
Last year the Ravens had a young receiving corps, as Torrey Smith and tight ends Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta were all in their first season as starters. Now that they have another year in the offense, and were able to work with Flacco throughout the offseason, that rapport should be even better this season.
To make sure that happens, Flacco is putting the pressure on himself.
"We have to go out there, and I think we have to attack – just become a little bit more accurate, a little bit more precise on everything we do, and I think I start that," Flacco said. "I think it's my job to get everyone on the same page, so when we go out there, there is no error, we are hitting on all cylinders."
And as the Ravens get ready for their second week of training camp, Flacco is already seeing improvement from what the unit was able to accomplish last season.
"We are getting better," Flacco said. "We are getting more athletic and more skilled and we are doing a lot of things on the offensive side of the ball just in terms of personnel. And when we get out here, we are working on them in terms of getting better and getting to that point where we can be an explosive offense and score a lot of points."