**Watch Flacco's 40, Big Arm At 2008 Combine
Ever wonder how a Super Bowl MVP performed at the NFL Scouting Combine before he was a Super Bowl MVP?
He has a different haircut and a younger face, but otherwise quarterback Joe Flacco hasn't changed one bit. He was calm, cool and showed off his big arm.
NFL.com highlighted Flacco's 40-yard dash, and deep-ball throwing ability in the video above (mobile users tap "View in browser" to watch).
"He's a big guy with a big arm. Strongest arm in this class, but nowhere near as big as JaMarcus Russell from last year," analysts said.
That's OK. I'm sure Flacco is happy with how things turned out. He's the Ravens franchise quarterback and perpetual playoff winner while Russell is no longer in the league.
Below are Flacco's combine results:
40 Yard Dash: 4.84 seconds
20 Yard Dash: 2.79 seconds
10 Yard Dash: 1.62 seconds
Bench Press: (N/A) reps (225 lbs)
Wonderlic: 27 (0-50)
Vertical Leap: 28.5 inches
Broad Jump: 110 inches
20 Yd Shuttle: 4.27 seconds (second best among 2008 QB class)
Three Cone: 6.82 seconds (best among 2008 QB class)
60 Yd Shuttle: (N/A) seconds
These days, it's actually news if quarterbacks decide to throw at the combine because they are nervous to have one off-day that could hurt their stock. But it isn't surprising that Flacco wasn't overwhelmed by the process, saying he never thought about skipping an opportunity to show off his big arm.
"I look at the combine as a chance to come out here and work out, and that's just the way I'm looking at things," Flacco said in the video below. "I'm looking forward to it."
Despite playing at smaller-school Delaware, Flacco's stock started to rise before the 2008 combine due to his size and arm strength. Leave it to Flacco to downplay the buzz.
"I'm a little bit surprised," Flacco said. "I keep saying, if I wasn't myself, I don't know if I'd like myself too much right now. I'd probably be sick of myself.
"I don't think I have too much to prove at this point. I think if you watch the film, you can see enough."
Below is NFL.com's scouting report of Flacco:
Positives: Certainly looks the part. ... Tall, rangy frame with room to add additional mass. ... Prototype arm strength. ... Can make all of the NFL throws with ease. ... Adequate speed in his set up and delivery. ... Solid mechanics. ... Possesses an over-the-top delivery and good footwork. ... Showed significant improvement in terms of poise and accuracy as a senior. ... Consistent accuracy in the short- and medium-range passing, especially toward the sidelines. ... Improved accuracy deep. ... Learned to read defenses better as a senior. ... Made proper check-downs in second year in the Delaware offense rather than relying on his big arm to thread the needle. ... Has shown the ability to handle two different offensive schemes in making a successful transition from Pittsburgh to Delaware. ... Lacks foot quickness and pure speed to ever be a true scrambling threat, but is a strong runner -- especially as a QB sneak threat -- due to his toughness and size. ... Isn't a finished product, but shows the tools worthy of development. ... Hasn't missed a game due to injury in his collegiate career.
Negatives: Wasn't able to beat out Tyler Palko at Pittsburgh and only became a starter after transferring to lower level Delaware. ... Protected at Delaware with a strong running game. ... Improved feel in the pocket, but still hangs on to the ball too long and isn't particularly mobile. ... Took the majority of the snaps at Delaware in the shotgun, raising questions about his ability to make the transition to the typical QB-center exchange, especially considering his lack of foot quickness. ... Can slide up into the pocket to buy time, but isn't going to scare defenses with his scrambling ability. ... Tends to lock-on to his receivers
Ravens Taking Closer Look At Off-Field Issues
Perhaps more important than players' results from on-field workouts at the combine are the 60 personal interviews teams have with prospects.
And this year, the Ravens will use those interviews to take a closer look at prospects' off-field issues more than ever before. The front office has always done that, but Head Coach John Harbaugh said the Ray Rice ordeal has heightened awareness about domestic violence.
"I think we've all learned a lot about domestic violence issues over the past year," Harbaugh told USA Today's Jarrett Bell. "For me (before Rice), it was never too close to home. I was never affected by it personally. It was something that I read about.
"But this has been an eye-opener. This is a watershed moment."
Harbaugh told Bell that the biggest takeaway from the Rice situation was that domestic violence is a societal issue and the NFL can take the lead in addressing it. Taking the lead includes how the Ravens evaluate potential players they draft or sign.
The Ravens head coach wasn't sure if that meant more players will be removed from their draftable list because it was still early in the process of evaluation. After talking with Harbaugh, Bell said he "guessed" that investigations could lead to the Ravens disqualifying prospects due to character concerns.
"We're just trying to get a read on what kind of heart a guy has," Harbaugh said. "You want to know what kind of choices they've made, and if they've made bad choices, what have they done to rectify it?"
Bell added that domestic violence issues might become a category of its own, rather than being lumped in with other character concerns.
"In previous years, domestic violence situations typically would be considered in a category that might have included other off-the-field concerns – such as substance-abuse or anger-management issues – the thinking now is that abuse against women is in a separate category regarded as the most serious of issues," Bell wrote.
"With the beefed-up investigative resources, the Ravens are digging to learn more information than ever about how prospects have engaged with women in their lives – even situations that didn't rise to any criminal complaints, but may merely reflect a contentious relationship in other ways."
Cody's Football Career Over?
ESPN's Jamison Hensley continues his countdown of the Ravens' top 15 free agents, with defensive tackle Terrence Cody coming in at No. 14.
With Cody's young age (26) and experience (87 games played), Hensley could see teams being interested in him because there are plenty of defenses that could use depth along their lines. But there's also a distinct possibility that that nobody will want to sign him. Here's why:
"The combination of his legal trouble with his declining skill level may end his football career," Hensley asserted. "Cody didn't receive much interest in free agency last season (he re-signed with the Ravens in April for the veteran minimum), and that was without the animal cruelty charges. The Ravens wanted to distance themselves so badly that they cut him nearly two months before his contract was going to expire anyway.
"The rest of the NFL may follow suit."
Rare Down Year For Harbaugh's Challenge Flags
Harbaugh has typically enjoyed success when throwing red flags to challenge referees' calls on the field, but he had a rare down year in 2014.
Russell Street Report pointed out that of Harbaugh's eight regular-season challenge flags, only one call was reversed in the Ravens' favor. He was 1-for-1 in the postseason.
Below is a chart of the flags Harbaugh threw in 2014, along with the final rulings:
|9/21/14||at Cle||J. Flacco right guard to CLV 1 for no gain, short of TD. Did not break plane.||Upheld|
|9/28/14||vs. Car||C. Newton pass incomplete short right to K. Benjamin. No fumble on the play.||Upheld|
|10/5/14||at Ind||A. Luck pass short right to R. Wayne to IND 36 for 7 yards. First down.||Upheld|
|11/2/14||at Pitt||B. Roethlisberger up the middle to BLT 49 for 1 yard. First down.||Upheld|
|11/9/14||vs. Ten||Z. Mettenberger pass short middle to D. Walker to TEN 45 for 14 yards (T. Brooks). FUMBLES (T. Brooks), recovered by TEN-K. Wright at TEN 43. K. Wright to TEN 49 For 6 yards (D. Smith; W. Hill).||Reversed|
|11/24/14||at NO||D. Brees pass deep right to K. Stills to BLT 5 for 33 yards (D. Gorrer). Pass complete.||Upheld|
|12/14/14||vs. Jax||B. Bortles pass incomplete short middle to C. Shorts (R. Melvin).||Upheld|
|12/28/14||vs. Cle||T. West left end to BLT 39 for 36 yards (E. Dumervil). Runner stayed inbounds.||Upheld|
|1/10/15||at NE||T. Brady pass short right to D. Amendola, ran out of bounds at NE 47 for 9 yards.||Reversed|
|TOTALS *||2-for-9 (22.2%)*|
He usually fares much better. In Harbaugh's first six seasons, he has had an NFL-best 28 plays reversed on a league-high 57 challenges. In 2013, seven of Harbaugh's 12 challenges (most in NFL) were overturned in the Ravens' favor.