Refreshing Not To Hear This Flacco Critique All Summer
Have you noticed a change in the Joe Flacco commentary this summer?
No, not the "elite" debate. Unfortunately, that is alive and well.
I'm talking about the annual uproar about Flacco not setting up private workouts with his receivers. Flacco is typically a staple at voluntary workouts each offseason, but he's never really been the type to go off-site and tweet pictures of himself throwing to his receivers like Peyton Manning or Tom Brady have done. Then, somehow the narrative swirls into absurdity about Flacco not being a leader.
Am I the only who hasn't heard such nonsense this time around?
"Maybe I'm just not listening to sports talk radio enough or reading message boards, but it's been refreshing to not have to hear or see the constant chatter all summer," wrote The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec. "Perhaps Flacco silenced that talk for a while after he had arguably the best season of his career last year."
Maybe "Playoff Joe" had something to do with killing the commentary, too.
Flacco's had the most postseason wins of any NFL quarterback since he entered the league in 2008. So, it becomes a little tough to critique a guy for not throwing insignificant passes in April when he's throwing touchdowns in January.
This year, it also helped that Flacco had his full stable of receivers and tight ends at Organized Teams Activities and minicamps. The competition at both positions has been intense, and subsequently, the younger players have gotten plenty of meaningful reps with Flacco. Heck, even 15-year veteran Steve Smith Sr. was there for the voluntary practices, helping to further advance his chemistry.
Private throwing sessions have certainly worked for top-tier quarterbacks. I'm sure there's a reason they do it besides having something cool to put on their social media outlets. But Flacco has his own way of preparing for the season, and Zrebiec believes he's earned the right to stick to his routine.
"I think he's been in the league enough and had enough success to get the benefit of the doubt," Zrebiec wrote. "He does things his way and has an unwavering belief in his routine. His self-confidence is what has made him a successful quarterback and a particularly dangerous one in the postseason."
Agreed. So the Flacco-is-not-a-leader-because-he-doesn't-hold-private-workoutsbashing is officially dead, right? RIGHT?
"I'm sure the narrative will be alive and well if he struggles this season," wrote Zrebiec.
Ugh, please no.
Houston Contract Shows What A Bargain Dumervil Is
Kansas City Chief* *Justin Houston is now the highest-paid linebacker in NFL history, signing a six-year deal reportedly worth an astonishing $101 million.
It just goes to show you the premium NFL clubs put on pass rushers. It also puts into perspective what an absolute steal Elvis Dumervil was for the Ravens.
"The Ravens may look at Houston's deal and realize what a bargain they have in Elvis Dumervil," wrote Zrebiec.* *
Dumervil's five-year deal from 2013 is reportedly worth $26.5 million with $9.5 million guaranteed and $9 million more available via escalators and incentives. That puts Dumervil's average annual pay at $5.2 million,* *while Houston's is $16.8 million.
Houston is, quite frankly, a beast. He led the league last year with 22 sacks, five more than the Ravens' single-season franchise record 17 sacks that Dumervil amassed. But is Houston worth $11.2 million PER YEAR more than Dumervil?
"Obviously, Dumervil and Houston are in different stages of their careers. Dumervil is 31, five years older than Houston," wrote Zrebiec. Houston has 48½ sacks over his first four NFL seasons. Dumervil has 90 sacks over his first eight seasons in the NFL.
"The point is that the Ravens are reaping the rewards of the fax fiasco that ultimately resulted in Dumervil getting released by the Broncos and becoming available."
Dumervil-Suggs Ranked No. 3 Pass-Rushing Duo
ESPN's Mark Clayton ranked the top pass-rushing duos in the league, and placed Terrell Suggs/Dumervil at No. 3, behind Houston/Tamba Hali and Von Miller/DeMarcus Ware in Denver.
Clayton dubbed the Baltimore pair the "senior" elite duo. Suggs turns 33 this season and Dumervil is 31.
Despite their age, the duo still notched a combined 29 sacks and 39 pressures. Clayton doesn't see either one slowing down soon and can see their careers last for several more years.
"If you are wondering about how long this duo can last, the top six sackers in NFL history had at least 15-year careers," Clayton wrote. "Suggs is in Year 13; Dumervil in Year 9. As Tiger Woods said this week at the British Open, he doesn't have an AARP card yet and neither do Suggs and Dumervil. In fact, both players have carved out potentially longer careers by making themselves affordable for years to come."
Schaub Ranked No. 24 Backup QB In "Just Dudes" Category
How quickly the perception of Ravens backup quarterback Matt Schaub has changed.
He went from a Pro Bowler in 2012 to "just a dude" in 2015.
NFL.com's Marc Sessler ranked all 32 backup quarterbacks, and also assigned them to one of seven made-up tiers: starting material, Tommy's boy, rounding out the top 10, serviceable stand-ins, bag of cats, just dudes, and sic transit gloria.
Schaub was listed at No. 24 with 11 other quarterbacks in the "just dudes" category.
"I was tempted to drop Schaub to the bottom of the list after his confidence – and arm – appeared shot last season in Oakland," Sessler wrote. "The Ravens are in boiling hot water if he plays meaningful snaps, but Marc Trestman has coached up aging vets before."
Can Perriman Develop Into Demaryius Thomas-Type Receiver?
The Ravens have never paid a receiver the type of money the Denver Broncos paid Demaryius Thomas this week ($70 million over 5 years). But they'd certainly like one of their receivers to make a strong case for a mega payday one day.
CSNBaltimore.com's Clifton Brown wonders if rookie Breshad Perriman could be that man.
"Can Breshad Perriman develop into a Demaryius Thomas type NFL receiver?" asked Brown. "The Ravens certainly hope so. Before the draft, some scouts were comparing Perriman to Thomas. …
"Comparisons are one thing. Production is another. But there are similarities between Perriman and Thomas. Perriman is a big body (6-foot-2 212 pounds) with sprinter's speed, just like Thomas. And both were taken around the same point in the draft. The Broncos took Thomas with the 22nd pick in 2010, while the Ravens took Perriman with the 26th pick this year. The biggest question with Perriman is whether he will catch the ball consistently."