Eisenberg: Why Teams At The Combine Envy Ravens


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Conversely, losing teams that have found their quarterbacks feel more optimistic about eventually seeing the light after years of darkness. The St. Louis Rams look a lot happier than the Titans this week even though both had losing records in 2010 because, well, the Rams have Sam Bradford and the Titans don't.

The Ravens crossed from one group to the other when they drafted **Joe Flacco** in the first round in 2008 and he turned out to be a winning quarterback.

They went from unsettled to settled, from slightly desperate to sure of themselves. Yes, they knew they would have to live through the growing pains that all promising young quarterbacks experience, but that was preferable to sorting through veteran options every year and hoping for the best.

When you come to the combine and see all 32 teams in action, you understand how crucial that one draft pick was for the Ravens, how it enabled them to chart a successful course in the coming years – how it brought stability to the organization.

Flacco has won 36 of 55 regular season and playoff games in three seasons, going through well-chronicled highs and lows along the way and strangely becoming something of a whipping boy for at least a small segment of the Ravens' fans.

They should take a trip to the combine and listen to other teams desperately contemplating unfulfilling options while praying they get the chance to do exactly what the Ravens did three years ago – target the right young quarterback and grab him.

When Ravens Head Coach **John Harbaugh** met the national media here Thursday, he fielded relatively benign questions about how the Ravens were going to tweak a winning team. He discussed the decision to give Flacco more responsibility and weighed in on whether he felt the team needed a receiver, cornerback or pass rusher (yes, yes and yes).

Those qualify as small-potato questions at the combine, where so many others teams are unsettled under center.

No one asked Harbaugh if he had any doubts about whether the Ravens actually are set at quarterback. Among people in the football know, there is no doubt.

Here at the combine, the fact that the Ravens have Flacco is considered one of the best things the organization has going for it. You're envied if you have stability and promise under center, a "growth" situation with major upside.

A lot of other teams would give anything to be in that position and not have to worry about whether Cam Newton, the self-proclaimed "entertainer and icon," is really who you want carrying your team for the next decade.

Get more insight from Director of Player Personnel Eric DeCosta and Director of College Scouting Joe Hortiz during the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine by following 1WinningDrive on Twitter.

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