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Joe Flacco: We're Set On Playmakers

Joe Flacco is a pretty happy guy after being surrounded by playmakers this offseason.

The team re-signed free agent tight end Dennis Pitta and wide receiver Jacoby Jones, and also brought in wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. and tight end Owen Daniels. Smith and Daniels have both made multiple Pro Bowls, and they'll join a receiving nucleus that also includes budding young talents in Torrey Smith and Marlon Brown. 

Flacco has all the targets he needs.

"I think we're definitely set there," Flacco said. "We have good guys on the outside. We have good guys on the inside. All around, I think these guys are really going to perform for us and I think we can have an explosive year."

The Ravens expect that building around Flacco will pay dividends after a season where he threw a career-high 22 interceptions, and the offense ranked 29th in the NFL.

Part of the problem last season was that Flacco didn't have enough pieces around him. The Ravens had lost key weapons from their Super Bowl roster, as wide receiver Anquan Boldin was traded to San Francisco and Pitta missed the first 12 games of the season with a dislocated hip. Wide receiver Jacoby Jones was also sidelined for the first quarter of the year and a hip injury hindered running back Ray Rice all season.

Instead of throwing to Pitta, Boldin, and Jones, Flacco was working with veteran tight end Dallas Clark and undrafted rookie Marlon Brown. Smith was the only main holdover.

"Missing Dennis last year for most of the year really hurt us," Flacco said. "We were used to playing with a couple tight ends, and we didn't have that guy inside. And losing [Boldin] inside after we had him playing for us for a couple years, we were probably hurt a little bit.

 "I didn't play well enough. I turned the ball over too much trying to do stupid things, and that, in the end, hurt us."

Now the Ravens have playmakers all over the field.

Smith Sr. is a five-time Pro Bowler who has been one of NFL's best receivers of the last decade. Getting Pitta back gives Flacco his safety net who can move the chains, and Jones is a proven deep threat who can break a big play at any point. Torrey Smith is coming off the best season of his career, and Smith Sr. should take some of the pressure off him.

All of those pieces give the Ravens plenty of depth on offense, which Flacco sees as part of the reason the Ravens drafted defensive players with four of their top five picks.

"We're so set. If you're going to pick a skill guy, where do they fit in?" Flacco said. "We have Torrey, Jacoby, Marlon, Steve, Dennis, Owen, Ray, Bernard [Pierce]. We have so many guys in all of those skilled positions that we think are the guys, and they have been the guys, that it's really tough to bring some other guys in."

With all those players around him, Flacco is confident that the Ravens will make big strides this year. The highest the Ravens have ranked offensively with Flacco was 13th in 2009, but new Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak has a history of producing top-10 offenses and Flacco expects to be that kind of unit.

"I always expect us to be up there," Flacco said. "We haven't ever really been there, but we have the talent to do it. We just have to go out there and make sure we play that way."

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