Joe Flacco gave Ravens fans the answer they’ve long been awaiting.
Yes, he will spend extra time this offseason getting together with his receivers outside of practice.
Flacco said Tuesday that he has already talked to new wide receivers Michael Crabtree and Smokey Brown about getting together this summer during the break between minicamp and training camp.
“There’s no doubt,” Flacco said. “That stuff is important. We’ll do it.”
Flacco hasn’t made it a regular practice to throw to his receivers on his own. He did travel to Arizona for passing sessions with Dennis Pitta, Todd Heap, Anquan Boldin and Derrick Mason during the lockout in 2011.
Meanwhile, some other quarterbacks and receivers make it routine. When he was with the Arizona Cardinals, Brown lived at Carson Palmer’s house and worked out with him for part of the 2015 offseason.
It’s a move that General Manager Ozzie Newsome and Head Coach John Harbaugh both encouraged earlier this offseason, especially given the team’s turnover at wide receiver. With Mike Wallace, Jeremy Maclin, Benjamin Watson and Michael Campanaro all gone, Flacco will have a lot of new targets this season.
More than the actual football work, Flacco believes it’s important to get together with his new receivers to build chemistry as teammates.
“I think sometimes those things are just as much or more about developing a relationship with those guys and developing that trust,” Flacco said. “I think when you can get that relationship going, that’s going to help your football team out a ton.”
Flacco has almost always participated in all of the team’s voluntary workouts and practices. When the players have been given time off, he typically goes home to his family, which just welcomed a fifth child born two weeks ago. Players often scatter back to where they’re from or homes across the country.
Flacco indicated that he doesn’t see a lot of benefit in getting together with his wide receivers in the four months between the end of the season and start of the strength and conditioning program. He sees that as more for players to get healthy and stay fit on their own.
“If you happen to be working out with guys and stuff like that, it’s all good,” Flacco said. “I think it’s just staying in shape, and for those guys to be running routes and catching the ball, and for me to be throwing a little bit and keeping my arm in shape.
“I think when it’s important to get with guys and really throw is after you’ve spent a little time with your coaches, we all understand what the common goal is, and then when you’re ramping up toward those five weeks toward the season. That’s when it becomes important.”
Flacco said it’s about Crabtree feeling how much his quarterback likes him and vice versa, and Crabtree agreed.
“I think you need to have that relationship to have that accountability on the field,” Crabtree said. “If we’re talking in the locker room and then come game time you’re going to expect me to do what we talked about.”