Breaking Down Flacco's Cannon
Everybody knows Joe Flacco's got a rocket launcher for a right arm – the strongest in the NFL, according to ESPN's Ron Jaworski.
But The Baltimore Sun's Matt Vensel went to the experts to break down just how that puppy works.
Flacco's strong arm dates back to high school, when he was throwing 90 mph fastballs as a baseball player. He was also throwing the football more than 60 yards. So there's definitely some favorable genetics at play.
There's also a lot of mechanics that go into it. With Flacco's 6-foot-6 height, making him the tallest starting quarterback in the NFL, there's a higher probability of screw-ups in his long delivery.
John Brenkus, the host of ESPN's "Sport Science," equated it to a whip.
"The longer the whip is, if you don't snap it right, it is going to fizzle out at the end," he said. "But if you're snapping it correctly, it's even faster by the end of the whip."
Flacco and his father, Steve, worked on their delivery growing up. Offensive Coordinator Jim Caldwell stressed that Flacco should bend his knees more. All of that equates to a quick delivery.
Brenkus said Flacco's released takes roughly .37 of a second, which is about .03 of a second faster than the NFL average. And that's despite Flacco's long arms. When the ball leaves his hand, it can travel 18 yards in two-thirds of a second.
"You've always got to make sure you have your hands at the right angles," tight end Ed Dickson said. "If you don't, you're definitely going to break your fingers dealing with Joe."
Flacco, who launched more passes over 20 yards than any quarterback in the league last year, said he doesn't do anything special to work on his arm strength.
"You throw the football a little bit and get your core [strengthened] a little bit, but I don't think there's really doing too much to my arm strength at this point," Flacco said. "It is what it is, and hopefully it will stay like that for the next 12 years and I won't have to worry about it."
Check out this college skills challenge, where Flacco launches the ball 74 yards:
Best Defense Against Super Bowl Hangover
It's a stat that Ravens fans will grow accustomed to hearing.
It's been nine years since a Super Bowl champion repeated and eight years since a reigning champ even won a playoff game the following season.
But the Ravens have taken a different approach than most teams, and it could alleviate the dreaded (and perhaps overblown) Super Bowl hangover.
According to The Sun's Jeff Zrebiec, 36 of the 90 players on the Ravens' roster were not with the team when it began its Super Bowl run last January, "an unprecedented roster turnover for a defending champion."
With training camp just about a month away, the Ravens could have as many as nine new starters, including three or four rookies.
So will a totally different team mean the Ravens will break the Super Bowl trend?
"The many new faces of the organization are treating this coming season with the Ravens as a new beginning, which should only help in the team's quest to avoid the same fate of so many recent reigning Super Bowl champions," Zrebiec wrote.
More Difficult To Replace: Ray Lewis Or Ed Reed?
The two defensive faces of the Ravens franchise – Ray Lewis and Ed Reed – are gone.
So which one is more difficult to replace?
Former New York Giants lineman Shawn O'Hara and analyst Brian Baldinger of the NFL Network debated the question as part of their 32 teams in 32 days segment.
O'Hara picked Reed:
"He hasn't missed a game in two years," he said. "When I think about Ed Reed I think about big plays. He always seemed to come up with a crucial interception. … This guy is a playmaker. I don't know how they replace him."
Baldinger took Lewis:
"I don't think you can replace Ray Lewis," he said. "It's not about numbers or stats, because Ray has all those. But from 1996 on, until last year's Super Bowl, there was one voice in that locker room in Baltimore. It didn't matter who the owner was, who the coaches were and the players that came and went, Ray Lewis was the leader of that football team. They don't have that voice anymore. I think he's the greatest leader that team has ever had or ever will have."
What do you think?
Ravens' Can't-Lose Player
Speaking of guys who that are difficult to replace…
ESPN's bloggers picked one player from every team around the league that they deemed "can't-lose" players.
For the Ravens, Jamison Hensley voted for wide receiver .
"The Ravens can't afford to lose Smith to an injury, especially with Anquan Boldin gone," Hensley says. "Over the past two seasons, Smith has averaged 17.1 yards per reception and scored 15 touchdowns. The group of receivers who would replace him -- Tandon Doss, David Reed, Deonte Thompson and Tommy Streeter -- have 21 career receptions combined.
"Baltimore would go from a proven playmaker to a big question mark. The Ravens don't have to rely heavily on their wide receivers with tight ends Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson along with running back Ray Rice. And Jacoby Jones can stretch the field like Smith. But the Ravens don't have a reliable and consistent presence outside without Smith."
Hensley said other areas where depth is a concern are the offensive line and safety.
- Looks like tackle Bryant McKinnie had a fun weekend. He posted a video of himself singing karaoke with good friend and tennis star Venus Williams. [Twitter/Instagram]
@i_amQUAN [LaQuan Williams]: @TorreySmithWR and D. Wade definitely look alike. [Twitter] * Justin Tucker's busy saving dogs. @jtuck9: Found this sweet guy out in Fredericksburg, if you happen to know who he belongs to, DM me ASAP!! Pyrenees mix, male [Twitter] * The high-tech world of training was used by former Ravens kicker Matt Stover and continues to evolve to this day. [Huffington Post] * The Cincinnati Bengals, who have enjoyed nothing but positive press this offseason, should approach the Ravens with caution in 2013, writes Chris Roling. "The downfall of the Ravens has been extremely over-exaggerated," he writes. [Yahoo! Sports] * Five ways the Ravens have gotten better this offseason. [CSN Baltimore]