Joe Flacco: I Have To Rise Up


Joe Flacco is looking right in the mirror as he tries to figure how the Ravens climb out of their 1-5 hole.

The Ravens are enduring their first losing season since Flacco arrived in 2008, and the veteran quarterback is determined to elevate his play down the stretch.

"I have to rise up and make sure I can just be that much better each day, so that we're still working towards improvement and going out there and being a little bit more consistent and crisp and detailing all the little things," Flacco said.

Flacco has been up-and-down this year. He has completed 62 percent of his passes for 1,605 yards with eight touchdowns and seven interceptions. He's on pace to throw for 4,280 yards, which would be the most of his career by a wide margin.

But he's also made some untimely and costly mistakes, like a pair of interceptions last week against the 49ers and a pick-six against Denver in the season opener. The uncharacteristic interceptions have led to questions about whether Flacco is trying to do too much to spark the offense.

"No, I don't think I'm pressing in any way to do those things," Flacco said. "I think you're always trying to make plays here and there, and obviously, take what the defense gives you. But there's going to be opportunities for you to go out there and make plays, and that's what you have to do as an NFL player."

A big part of the issue for Flacco is that he's again dealt with constant change around him. Top receiver Steve Smith Sr. missed a game with a back injury. Tight end Crockett Gillmore missed two games with a calf problem, and tight end Dennis Pitta has yet to play this year.

Kamar Aiken is in his first year as a starting receiver, and reserve receivers Chris Givens and Jeremy Ross have both been mid-season additions. First-round pick Breshad Perriman hasn't even practiced with Flacco since July. 

Flacco is also working with his fourth offensive coordinator in as many seasons, as the Ravens hired Marc Trestman this offseason when Gary Kubiak departed for Denver.

"I wish I was a little more comfortable than I probably am, but we're dealing with getting different guys in there and different guys the ball and shuffling this guy in, this guy out," Flacco said. "We've had to deal with some things, and that's just the nature of it. I have to hone in a little bit more just to make up for some of that stuff."

Flacco has taken responsibility and acknowledged that some of his mistakes have cost the team this year. The quarterback opened his post-game press conference last week by saying that fixing the offense starts with him avoiding “stupid” mistakes.

The Ravens have also maintained faith that Flacco will find his groove.

"If I have confidence in anybody's ability to get that right, it's Joe Flacco," Head Coach John Harbaugh said.

Flacco has also embraced his leadership role within the offense. He's the second-longest tenured player of the unit behind right guard Marshal Yanda, and he's the quarterback with the big contract.

He has said several times during the rough start to the season that he believes the Ravens have a good enough team to right the ship, and he expects to lead the group back from their disappointing start.

"I don't feel any more pressure. It's all about coming out here on a daily basis and just making sure that we're working those details," Flacco said. "That's the biggest thing is just coming out here and making sure on a daily basis we're working as hard as we can, and I'm driving that, so that come game day it's as good as it can be."

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