Late For Work 11/27: Joe Flacco Earned The Right To Speak His Mind

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Flacco Earned The Right To Speak His Mind

After airing Joe Flacco's rant and blasting of the wildcat offense, WNST's Glenn Clark stood up and started applauding.

"This is Flacco's finest moment," Clark declared.

He said he is glad that he wasn't personally present for Flacco's comments because it would have been awkward for everyone to hear him yell, "[PREACH!](http://wnst.net/audio-vault/?listen= Luke Jones (WNST) joins Glenn for the Atlantic Remodeling Ravens report) PREACH!" as Flacco explained why the wildcat looks like a "high school offense."

Browsing the web, it's hard to find analysts who disagree with the heart of Flacco's message, which is this: The Ravens offense has to get better at football basics if they're going to consistently win going forward.

"Trick plays work on occasion and they can keep the opposing defense off balance, but they are no substitute for a coherent, well-executed offense," wrote The Baltimore Sun's Peter Schmuck.

Instead of gimmicks and gadgets, Flacco wants the ball in his hands.

There's no problem with expressing that, especially when simply giving an honest response to a question asked.

"Flacco has earned the right to speak his mind," wrote ESPN's Jamison Hensley. "He's nine months removed from bringing a Vince Lombardi Trophy to Baltimore and he's the unquestioned franchise quarterback."

That is such an important point, it bears repeating. The highest paid player in franchise history and reigning Super Bowl MVP has earned the right to speak his mind.

That said, there is a byproduct to Joe's remarks.

"He puts the [target](http://wnst.net/audio-vault/?listen= Luke Jones (WNST) joins Glenn for the Atlantic Remodeling Ravens report) on his back," said WNST's Luke Jones. "This team is going to live and die with its quarterback. The target is certainly going to be on Joe Flacco to come through."

And that's how Flacco seems to want it.

If he goes off on Thursday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers, he will have the satisfaction of proving he was right, and might put a stop to snarky comments like this from Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk.com: "The best way for Flacco to show the Ravens don't need the wildcat is for him to start playing like a $120 million quarterback when he is behind the center."

But if Flacco struggles Thursday … well, as one fan said on 105.7 The Fan, "God forbid."

While most agree with Flacco's main point, there is still plenty of debate surrounding the following questions:

Should Flacco have made the critical remarks publicly?This comment came in response that asked Flacco if the plays were designed for him to do anything as a receiver.

For Hensley, he likes Flacco's honesty, but thinks it was a little much and became defiant.

"All he had to say is this: 'I don't like the wildcat but I will do whatever the team asks of me,'" Hensley suggested.

Last year's success aside, Flacco's is struggling this year. Does he still have the right to speak up?Because Flacco is the 29th-rated quarterback in the league, and his offense is 24th in scoring, Tony Kornheiser of ESPN's "Pardon The Interruption" believes Flacco should let the coaches dictate the offense.

"[I]f the Ravens coaches want to put something in to maybe get some points, and they think it's the wildcat, he ought to shut up and do the wildcat," he said.

Is Flacco being a team player?"You don't have to agree with what the team is doing, but you still have to be a team player. This rule even applies to the $120.6 million quarterback," Hensley wrote. "I'm guessing Flacco's comments won't go over well with coach John Harbaugh. … That being said, the backlash against Flacco has to stop. Let's not act like Flacco is the only quarterback to criticize the wildcat offense. It was only last month when Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger lashed out against the gimmick offense after his team used it against the Ravens."

Was the timing of Flacco's comments bad, and could it potentially hurt the chess match vs. the Steelers?"Here's where I have a problem with what he said," wrote The Baltimore Sun's Peter Schmuck. "Even if it was agreed behind closed doors to reduce the number of those plays in the future, Flacco should not have put that on the street two days before facing the Steelers in another must-win divisional matchup. Those plays resulted in only limited success, but they still represent an added dimension that Steelers coach Mike Tomlin and defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau has to consider during a very short practice week. Generally, I think NFL coaches spend way too much time playing "spy vs. spy" with their future opponents, but tendency analysis is a very big part of every team's game week preparation."

When Flacco said he doesn't do a "single thing" as a receiver, was he saying he won't do anything, or it is designed for him not to do anything?This comment came in response to a question that asked Flacco if the plays were designed for him to do anything as a receiver.

Flacco didn't run a route or block when he was split out wide Sunday, which may be the design from coaches because otherwise defensive players would have an excuse to drill the* *starting quarterback and potentially risk injury.

"I took it as though [doing nothing] was basically what his role was supposed to be. He's not supposed to be in harm's way," said Jones, who added that it's on the media to get some clarification to be sure.

And if it is the design for Flacco to do nothing, it could*bolster his argument that the wildcat is not a good solution. *

"The guy has a point: Flanking Flacco out wide offers no value if the defense is prepared for Taylor's skills," wrote Eric Edholm of Yahoo! Sports. "Flacco is an offensive player the defense doesn't have to worry about, making it 10-on-11 football. The Ravens need more offensive weaponry, not less."

Ranking 5-6 AFC Wild-Card Hopefuls

Instead of the usual overall NFL rankings I do each Wednesday from around the web – which generally has the Ravens ranked between Nos. 15-20 – I thought this piece from SI.com's Don Banks was more interesting.

Banks ranked the six AFC teams that all currently have 5-6 records and are tied for the second and final wild-card playoff spot. For fun, he also rates each team's "mojo factor" on a scale from 1 to 10.

1. Pittsburgh (current seed No. 7), Mojo Factor: 7.5
"The Steelers also have the most proven quarterback of the 5-6 pack of stragglers, with Ben Roethlisberger and his two Super Bowl rings comfortably leading the way on that front," Banks wrote.

2. San Diego (No. 9), Mojo Factor: 6.5. "The Chargers have always been a streaky team, and if you're counting on consistency from San Diego you're probably setting yourself up for disappointment. But still, the Chargers snapped a three-game losing streak with that resilient 41-38 upset at Kansas City on Sunday, and that's the kind of performance that can really spring board a team onto bigger things."

3. Baltimore (No 8), Mojo Factor: 6."[I]f they beat the streaking Steelers, the Ravens might be everyone's pick to earn the No. 6 seed or maybe even run down the Bengals for the division title."

4. Tennessee (No. 6). Mojo Factor: 4. "The Titans [who] have lost five of their past seven games after their hopeful 3-1 start, are winless at 0-3 in the AFC South (which features the two worst teams in the AFC in 2-9 Jacksonville and 2-9 Houston) and will have to make due for the rest of the season with their backup quarterback in Ryan Fitzpatrick. Ladies and gentlemen, your AFC sixth seed at the moment, the Tennessee Titans!"

5. Miami (No. 11), Mojo Factor: 2.5."I realize putting the word mojo and Miami in the same sentence could pass as a sight gag, but the Dolphins are still in this race, despite all sense of logic and reasoning. … Miami just doesn't have enough offense to get this job done."

6. New York Jets (No. 10), Mojo Factor: 1.0."There's hitting the rookie wall, and then there's the impact left by Jets quarterback Geno Smith in his past six games: One touchdown pass and 10 interceptions. Geno's right. He's no Mark Sanchez. Even Sanchez was never that anemic."

More Dangerous Playoff Team: Ravens or Steelers?

Two of three analysts in the video below (mobile users tap "View in Browser" at the top of the page), say the Ravens are more dangerous because their defense is improving.

Quick Hits

  • Defensive end Chris Canty was limited in practice for the second day in a row since injuring his shoulder in the third quarter of Sunday's win over the Jets, but returned to the game. You think he'll play, Jamison? "[I]t's a good bet that Canty will play Thursday night," Hensley said. [ESPN]
  • Roethlisberger has a 7-2 record against Flacco since 2008. That includes a 3-1 mark while playing in Baltimore. "[H]ead to head Roethlisberger [has] consistently gotten the better of Flacco," wrote Mike Florio. "If Ben does it again on Thursday night, maybe he will have made a strong case to at least be paid as well as Flacco." [ProFootballTalk.com]
  • Matt Vensel is struggling on what to call the Ravens "wildcat" offense because technically it's not a wildcat. [The Baltimore Sun]
  • @SNFonNBC: Jonathan Ogden stopped by the #SNF Bus to sign the Wall of Fame tonight before heading into the @UnderArmour event [Twitter]
  • @mattvensel: Fun fact: While Terrell Suggs has no sacks in his past 3 games, he is averaging 4 pressures per game per @PFF, the same rate as his first 8. [Twitter]
  • @RavensInsider: Courtney Upshaw's legal block on Troy Davis ends his season, Davis placed on injured reserve today [Twitter]
  • CliftonBrownCSN: Terrell Suggs on #Steelers game, "If you aren't ready for this game, then you have no business on either one of the two teams." #RavensTalk [Twitter]
  • @jamisonhensley: Jameel McClain played "Renegade" in #Ravens locker room. [Twitter]
  • @ryanmink: Justin Tucker was doing the worm & breakdancing in the locker room yesterday trying to distract Sam Koch during cornhole. #Loose #Confident [Twitter]
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