Flacco: Can't Remember Offense Ever Playing Better
Baltimore is known for defense.
But not this year – not under the Joe Flacco-Gary Kubiak partnership.
With these two men leading an offensive unit with a solid run game, stout offensive line and plenty of weapons, the Ravens are ranked eighth-best in the NFL. And that ranking only accounts for yards per game. If you ask Pro Football Focus (PFF), which takes into account the enitire offense, down to the blocking and penalties, the Ravens are rated No. 2 out of all 32 teams.
"I think as an offense, we're playing about as well as I can remember," Flacco told ESPN Radio's "Mike and Mike" Monday.
Flacco's memory serves him pretty well.
In the time Flacco has been running the offense (since 2008), it has never looked better. The Ravens are on pace to churn out 6,237 yards this season, which easily beats the offense's next best season with him under center: the Ravens' Super Bowl year in 2012. If Flacco and company keep up their pace, they will beat that Super year by nearly a whopping 600 yards.
Offensive Rankings (Total Yards)
2014: No. 6 (2,339 yards through six games – on pace for 6,237)
2013: No. 29 (4,918)
2012: No. 16 (5,640)
2011: No. 15 (5,419)
2010: No. 22 (5,166)
2009: No. 13 (5,619)
2008: No. 18 (5,184)
Despite the success so far, Flacco believes* *his unit can be even better. He says the next step is stability. The offense has big points and yards against the Panthers and Bucs, but had a hard time moving the ball against the Colts and Bengals.
"We're putting points on the board, [but] I think we've got to find a little more consistency at times," Flacco said. "We've had games where we've had a tough time getting it going."
If Flacco can string some games together, watch out. He is already on the way to career highs in passing yards (4,256) and touchdowns (32).
"Don't look now, but Joe Flacco might be having his best season," wrote The Baltimore Sun's Childs Walker.
Walker's colleague, Mike Preston, attributed much of the Ravens' success to the new acquisitions from the offseason in Steve Smith Sr., Justin Forsett, Owen Daniels and Jeremy Zuttah. But no acquisition may have been bigger than Kubiak, the new offensive coordinator.
"Of course, a lot of this wouldn't have happened without Gary Kubiak," Preston wrote. "While on the subject of Kubiak, it was refreshing to hear him say last week after the Ravens lost to the Indianapolis Colts that he needed to call a better game and he could have provided rookie left tackle James Hurst with help by running the ball more. He didn't criticize the media for criticizing him or blame his players. He just went out and put 48 points on the Buccaneers.
"That's how it is done."
Smith Sr. 'A Nasty Dude'
One more noteworthy quote from Flacco before we move on from his "Mike and Mike" appearance …
They asked the seventh-year quarterback what he thought of Smith Sr., and he had this to say:
"He's a nasty dude when he has the ball in his hands. The first guy is not bringing him down. …* *The way he is still running at his age, he's putting a lot of pressure on teams."
At 35, he could be called an "old dude," but he is bucking all the trends.
Forsett Dedicates Game To Grandmother With Alzheimer's
Running back Justin Forsett can remember the advice his grandmother, Louise Williams, gave him when he was younger and afraid of playing bigger kids in football: "The bigger they are, the harder they fall."
But according to Fox Sports' Mike Garafolo, Grandma Louise didn't have any advice for Forsett before Sunday's game against the Buccaneers.
That's because she is suffering from Alzheimer's disease and is on bed rest, struggling even to feed herself.
Forsett got to visit her just outside of Tampa when he was in Florida this weekend, and he dedicated his 100-yard game to her.
"Forsett hadn't seen his grandmother in more than a year," Garafolo wrote. "That last time, she recognized him. This time, he had to take comfort in her merely replying 'Yes' when he asked her if she'd be watching Sunday's game, even if he's not sure she understood who he was or what he meant.
"But Forsett still vowed to have a big game for his grandmother, and he did just that."
Forsett told Garafolo of his emotional visit:
"I was with her a lot growing up," he told FOX Sports by phone Sunday evening after landing in Baltimore along with his teammates. "When my parents were working she would take us to the football games, take us to the recitals, practice a lot. On Saturday, if we didn't have a game or anything, she would give us $5 and we would go to the store to buy a toy of our choice. She was our transportation to go to practice and games and things we were involved in.
"She had a huge impact in my life. It was definitely tough seeing her in that condition (this weekend)."
Highest, Lowest PFF Grades
The grades are in from PFF, and it's not surprising that Flacco was the team leader with a plus-6.5 grade. Let's look at two other players that PFF's John Breitenbach highlighted: Marshal Yanda and Matt Elam.
On Yanda (plus-5.8): "Despite some injuries to the offensive line, so long as Yanda remains in the lineup the Ravens will be able to run right. The way he latches onto linebackers at the second level and is able to control them despite the space they have to evade him is remarkable. You very rarely (almost never) see him off balance and he doesn't make mental mistakes. Yanda is a proper old-school guard. His only significant error came in pass protection when he was beaten on a stunt by the defensive end allowing a hit but he still graded positively in that regard ( 0.3) allowing just the aforementioned hit in 31 drop backs."
On Elam (minus-2.4): "In a game with huge positives Elam stood out as the major negative. His poor start to the season continued as he recorded his fifth negatively graded game in a row. Coverage continues to be his major issue as he allowed both targets to be complete including a three yard touchdown. The other resulted in a first down and Elam converted a third down by committing a holding penalty. To confound matters he missed a tackle allowing significant yards after contact in the run game."* *
Joe Flacco: plus-6.5
Marshal Yanda: plus-5.8
Terrell Suggs: plus-3.3
Elvis Dumervil: plus-3.0
Torrey Smith: plus-2.2
LowestDeAngelo Tyson: minus-3.6
Matt Elam: minus-2.4
James Hurst: minus-1.9
Jeremy Zuttah: minus-1.8
Daryl Smith: minus-1.7
- A fan asked Jamison Hensley if he thinks Lardarius Webb will be back next year. "I don't see cornerback Lardarius Webb on the Ravens' roster next season. With the way Webb is playing, it's hard to justify paying him $8 million in salary in 2015. The Ravens can gain $5 million in cap room by cutting Webb. Of course, Webb has time left this season to make a convincing argument that he should stay. There's also the possibility that the Ravens will approach Webb about taking a pay cut. The Ravens just can't have any confidence that Webb will be healthy enough to play week to week. He has missed three of the Ravens' five games this year. For his career, Webb has been sidelined for 20 percent of the Ravens' games (including playoffs) because of injuries. I don't know how the Ravens can commit that much money to a player who gets hurt this often. [ESPN]
- Torrey Smith proves his mental toughness. [ESPN]
- I couldn't resist this … Bill Belichick fights with "stupid" microphone. [Vine]