Maclin Lost a Step? Nope, He Had a Torn Groin
Jeremy Maclin had a tough 2016 season in which he posted career lows in receptions (44), yards (536) and touchdowns (2).
That led to questions, including reportedly from the Kansas City Chiefs, about whether Maclin had lost a step after back-to-back seasons with more than 85 catches, 1,000 yards and a combined 18 touchdowns.
Maclin was asked for a response to those questions by ESPN's Adam Schefter on his “Know Them From Adam” podcast Wednesday.
"If I'm supposed to be just as fast with a torn groin, more power to them. I guess they just have to wait and see," Maclin said with a chuckle. "I'll still be able to get open, I'll still be able to make big plays, that's for sure."
Wait, Maclin played through a torn groin last year?
We knew Maclin missed four games during an injury-plagued season, but nobody knew the extent of the injury. And it goes a long way in explaining his depressed stats.
"The statistics back it up too," CBS Sports' Will Brinson pointed out. "Maclin was actually playing pretty well through the first seven games of the season."
Over that seven-game span, he had 30 catches for 376 yards, which put him on pace for 69 grabs and more than 850 yards. Both of his touchdowns came before the injury.
Maclin headed into the Chiefs' Week 9 game against the Jacksonville Jaguars on the injury report for a groin injury. He started but left early without a single target. Maclin sat out the next four weeks before returning in Week 14 against the Oakland Raiders.
"But he clearly wasn't the same," Brinson wrote.
Maclin caught just 16 passes for 188 yards in the final five games, including a playoff loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
"So I missed about four weeks there with the torn groin, and I came back and I was able to play, but I can't sit up here and tell you I was 100 percent," Maclin told Schefter. "But I'm also not going to sit here and make excuses. At the end of the day, I didn't play as well as I could have last year."
Schefter pressed Maclin about how much the injury hampered him.
"You could feel it, but at the end of the day, I've got to play better," Maclin said. "I'm not that type of guy to [hang] my hat on that."
Maclin told Schefter that he did not get surgery after the season ended and that he's now back at 100 percent physically.
"Getting a healthy Maclin, who at times has looked like a true No. 1 wideout, would be a huge boost for Joe Flacco," Brinson wrote. "It's worth watching how Maclin looks in training camp and the preseason; a torn groin just sounds like the type of injury that isn't cured quickly and could come back around.
"But if he is indeed healthy, the Ravens may have a bargain on their hands."
In his conversation with Schefter and Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio, Maclin also shared that he found out about his release from the Chiefs over voicemail. He also learned then that Kansas City had been trying to trade him for months.
"That flame that burns inside of a competitor, that thing got a lot brighter," Maclin told Florio.
Ravens Have One Team in Top 30 of Past 30 Years
The Ravens have one team in the top 30 of the past 30 years, says ESPN's Football Outsiders.
Anybody want to take a guess which one?
Yup, it's the 2000 Super Bowl-winning Ravens, who had the third-best defense of the past 30 years and 17th-best special teams unit.
The Ravens came in at No. 26 on the best-overall teams list, which is compiled using a DVOA (defense-adjusted value over average) metric. Note that a DVOA of 0 percent represents the league average.
No. 26. 2000 Baltimore Ravens (plus-32.9 percent)
Aaron Schatz: "Baltimore had a DVOA of 24.1 percent in the regular season, which ranks No. 95 in the past 30 years, but the dominant playoff run moves the Ravens into the top 30."
The best team over the past 30 years, per the calculations, was the 1991 Washington Redskins. They were No. 3 on defense and No. 1 on offense and special teams.
The San Francisco 49ers led the way with five teams on the list. In terms of Ravens rivals, the Patriots had four squads and the Steelers had three.
Flacco Is Ravens' Top MVP Candidate
It's the offseason, when any debate is fair game. Thus, NFL Media's Elliot Harrison is already talking MVP.
Harrison put together the top candidate for MVP from every team in the league. There are 16 quarterbacks and 16 non-quarterbacks.
The Ravens' choice seems like a no-brainer: quarterback Joe Flacco.
"If Flacco is going to win this, he'll need a lot of help," Harrison said.
"With Dennis Pitta (86 catches last season) gone and one of the weakest running games in pro football (91.4 yards per game, 28th in the NFL), will Mike Wallace, Breshad Perriman or recent signee Jeremy Maclin provide it? On the other hand, if Baltimore wins the AFC North and Flacco throws for 4,600 yards, how could he not be NFL MVP?"
Harrison dubbed the "big three" as Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Raiders quarterback Derek Carr. Then there were the top three non-quarterbacks of Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown, Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott and Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones.
The next class was "rising tides lift all boats," followed by "MVPs … of their teams," which is where Harrison listed Flacco.
But if an AFC North crown and 4,600 passing yards is what it takes, then Flacco can definitely do it.
Flacco threw for a career-high 4,317 yards last year, and that was coming off a torn ACL. To reach 4,600 yards, he'd only have to average 18 more passing yards per game. That's like one Flacco frozen rope. The Ravens came within inches of beating Pittsburgh for the AFC North crown last year.