How Is Joe Flacco Playing?


The discussion about the Ravens offense this season has revolved around almost everything* *except the quarterback.

Pro Bowler Ray Rice has battled an injury and not been effective. The wide receivers have dealt with a handful of injuries. The offensive line has struggled. Bryant McKinnie is in Miami and Eugene Monroe has taken over at left tackle. Tight end Dennis Pitta has missed the entire season with a hip injury.

Amidst all the change and growing pains, the one constant has been quarterback Joe Flacco.

So how has the reigning Super Bowl MVP performed so far this year?

"He's throwing the ball well," Offensive Coordinator Jim Caldwell said. "He's throwing the ball accurately, and he's getting better and better at that all the time."

As the Ravens went into the into their bye weekend, Flacco did not want to talk much about his individual performance through seven games. The Ravens are under .500 at this point in the season for the first time since he's been in Baltimore, and he is focused on getting the team back on track.

"You guys can look at [my individual performance]," Flacco said. "The bottom line is, you just want to look at wins. We haven't been good enough in that department, and we haven't been good enough on offense. It starts with me."

Flacco's statistics are not drastically different from what the Ravens have seen in previous seasons [add]. He has completed 59.5 percent of his passes for 1,917 yards, eight touchdowns and eight interceptions. He is on track for 4,381 passing yards and 18 interceptions, which would both be career highs.

Flacco has never put up the gaudy passing numbers of some other quarterbacks like Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Tom Brady or Matthew Stafford, as the Ravens have always been a balanced run-pass team during his time in Baltimore.

"Obviously, he's never been a big numbers guy because of the fact that he's a very unselfish person," Caldwell said. "He's not one of those guys who is looking to pad his stats or anything of that nature."

With all the changes this season, the Ravens have ridden Flacco's arm more than previous years. He is averaging 38.3 passing attempts a game and is on pace for a career-high 614 attempts. His previous high in attempts was 542 in 2011. 

While the Ravens are passing more than they ever have with Flacco, he does not sense a significant change compared to previous years.

"It's just about going along and trying to do the same thing I do every year," he said.

The numbers that stick with Flacco more than any others are his ability to win. The Ravens have been to the playoffs every season since he has been in Baltimore, and he is the first quarterback in NFL history to win at least one playoff game in each of his first five seasons.

"The one thing he knows and understands is how to win games," Caldwell said.

Flacco's ability to win consistently was a big factor in the organization's decision to give him a record-breaking six-year contract worth $120.6 million. He has grown into one of the team's leaders throughout his career, and the coaches have seen that ability this year.

As the Ravens look to get hot in the second half of the*season and return to the playoffs for the sixth straight *time, Flacco is confident in his ability to help get the team back on track.

"It's just some little things that we have to clean up here and there," he said. "We'll get everything going."

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