The first few minutes of Joe Flacco's press conference were vintage Flacco. There wasn't a lot said.
Then Flacco, as he is sometimes prone to do, busted out. It came when he was asked about whether there is more pressure on him to perform this year, a question he's heard multiple times since being given a historic $120 million contract this offseason.
"I just really don't know," Flacco said. "I think if we didn't win, you all would still be saying that we suck, and if did [win], you all would still say the same."
To Flacco, it doesn't matter either way. He expects himself and the Ravens to be good. And whatever is said about him or the team is water off a Blue Hen's back.
Pressure? What pressure?
"All we can do is go out there and keep winning – just like we've been doing every year we've been here – and not really worry about what people say or what our expectations are and what the pressure is going to be. Who really cares?" he said.
"I can't really complain at this point. We won last year, I have a lot of money* – or *I'm going to get a lot of money – and we're going to win football games. That's the way it is around here. That's what we're going to get used to and that's what we want to be used to, is winning football games. We're not going to apologize for acting like a good football team."
In many outsiders' eyes, a big contract has heightened the expectations for Flacco. He's long been a winner, but fans and pundits want to see more consistency and bigger stats from the sixth-year signal caller.
Flacco acknowledged that sentiment Tuesday afternoon after his third training camp practice.
"I think we did some things pretty good at times on offense, and especially at the end of the season we started to really hit the ground running," Flacco said. "I think we've just got to build on that and be consistent and do it throughout the 16-game season and into the playoffs again."
But when asked about what he can do for an encore to his record-tying postseason run in which he tied Joe Montana with 11 touchdowns and zero interceptions, then won Super Bowl MVP, Flacco framed it in terms of the team. "I haven't really thought about an encore," he said. "I've just kind of thought about getting the best we can get so that we can go out there and win some more football games."