Joe Flacco's back injury from last season seemed like a distant memory when the Ravens began offseason workouts Monday.
The veteran quarterback reported for the start of the voluntary conditioning program and led the way for the offense through drills. He caught the attention of his teammates as he went through the workouts, and he told reporters Tuesday that he's in a much better place after fighting through the lingering back issue last year.
"I feel really good," Flacco said. "I spent a lot of this offseason, obviously, working around that, working on that, and doing a lot of big things with that. And I feel great about how it went and where I am at this point."
Flacco played in every game last year, but he missed all of training camp and the preseason. He indicated to reporters after the season that he would not need surgery to repair the back, and he reiterated that getting rest was critical to ensure that the injury would not plague him in 2018.
"It's kind of past that point where it's going to be a habitual thing, anyway, but there was a little bit of getting better there with that," he said. "I don't think this offseason was any different in terms of how I worked out and what I've done, but maybe a little more catering to making sure that won't be an issue moving forward. That's all."
The injury clearly limited Flacco through the first half of last year, and it cost him valuable time to develop chemistry with his receiving corps. The offense struggled to move the ball and put up points early in the year, but the group took big steps forward as Flacco got healthier down the stretch.
A top priority for Flacco now is to starting building a rapport with his new targets Michael Crabtree and Smokey Brown. Flacco knows how important the next few months will be to starting sync with his receivers heading into the season, and having him healthy is perhaps the biggest piece of the equation.
"It hurt us obviously not having him for all of training camp," veteran safety Eric Weddle said. "People forget that he basically had his first rep the week of our first game, and finally got rolling the second half of the year.
"This team goes as he goes. He's going to get a full offseason with our receivers, our offensive philosophy, what he wants to do, and it's going to show."