Eight Teams Have Had Same QB For at Least 10 Years … and They Tend to Prosper
The Ravens expect quarterback Joe Flacco on the practice field next week, reports CBSSports.com's Jason La Canfora.
La Canfora says the team has taken a "kids-glove approach" to his back injury in order to avoid aggravating it. Such a conservative approach isn't a bad idea considering what the 10-year veteran means to the franchise both this season and long term.
Flacco's longevity with the Ravens is helping set a new NFL record this year. It will be the first time in league history that eight teams will start the same quarterback for at least the 10th-consecutive year, according to NFL Research.
"Not surprisingly, teams with a long-term solution behind center in this league tend to prosper," NFL.com's Dan Hanzus wrote.
Over the last nine seasons, the eight listed teams in the tweet above have won more playoff games than the rest of the league combined, and the eight quarterbacks have won seven of the last nine Super Bowls.
To demonstrate the other end of the spectrum of no consistency at the position, Hanzus pointed out that this season the Cleveland Browns will start their 35th quarterback since 2004. During that time, New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (who has the NFL's longest active games-played streak) has started every game.
Manning made news this week by saying he feels he can play another four years, which would take him into his 40s. And while doing so would be a spectacular achievement, it's becoming more of a trend in this golden age of quarterbacks.
Tom Brady just turned 40 earlier this month. Brett Favre played into his 40s. So did Vinny Testaverde, Mark Brunell, Doug Flutie, Warren Moon, Steve DeBerg and more.
"I'm not going to be 50 [years old] and playing," Flacco said in 2015. "I hope I'm 40, but 50, no."
Flacco is only 32. If this back issue ends up being just a blip on his overall durable career and he lasts until 40, it would give him another nine seasons in the NFL. And it sure would be nice if he could play a majority or all of those years as a productive quarterback in Baltimore.
"Without [stability at the game's most vital position], you are doomed to perennial also-ran status," wrote Hanzus. "History is instructive, my friends."
5 Things to Know About Ravens As Season Approaches
Film-study buff Andi Benoit of TheMMQB.com is previewing NFL teams as the 2017 season approaches.
Below are some notes from his studies on the Ravens:
1) Ravens are at their best in a run-base offense, not a quick-strike offense.
Last year, the Ravens offense featured a lot of quick passes from Flacco, who led the league in passing attempts, but his yards per dropback ranked No. 26. Meanwhile, the team finished 30th in rushing attempts. As such, Benoit suggests the Ravens should end their quick-strike passing strategy and refocus on running the ball. "Run-based offenses tend to feature more five-step timing passes, where intermediate levels can be attacked through play-action," wrote Benoit. "They have the personnel to be run-first, even without Kenneth Dixon."
2) Assuming a healthy and improved Flacco hits the field, the wide receiver corps will make or break the offense.Benoit would like to see a more consistent, mechanically disciplined, sound decision-making and healthy Flacco. And assuming he returns to form, Benoit says the offensive X-factor is the receiving corps. "Newcomer Jeremy Maclin replaces Steve Smith Sr. as the No. 1," Benoit wrote. "That's a wash. Maclin is polished but, in and of himself, not a significant difference-maker. His production comes mainly from within the flow of the scheme. Breshad Perriman has the size and raw talent to be a difference-maker, which is why he'll likely play on the weak side in most of Baltimore's formations. But it's time for Perriman to blossom."
3) Terrell Suggs is a Hall of Famer and more than a pass rusher.Daaaaang! That's some high praise coming from Benoit on Suggs, saying he deserves a spot in Canton. Sizzle has been so good at getting after the quarterback that it sometimes overshadows the other parts of his game that are still really, really good. "His edge-setting and ball-chasing in run defense are superb. And, in a way, so is his coverage. There isn't a stat for this, but something Suggs does extremely well is jam tight ends who are coming off the line of scrimmage," Benoit wrote. "[T]eams are reluctant to run read-option against the Ravens because, dating back to the Super Bowl win over San Francisco, Suggs has shown an eagerness to drill the snot out of the quarterback regardless if he keeps the ball or not."
4) Expect more man-to-man coverage, pre-snap disguises and blitzes with the addition of Tony Jefferson.
Because Jefferson can matchup against tight ends all over the field, Benoit says that should open things up for Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees. He can feel more comfortable playing man-to-man and, as a result, unleash more blitz packages. "Jefferson himself is an adroit blitzer," Benoit wrote. "He'll add dimension to Baltimore's pre-snap disguises, especially given that he's paired with one of the game's best pre-snap disguise artists, Eric Weddle. Speaking of Weddle, with Jefferson aboard and corner-turned-safety Lardarius Webb back after an excellent 2016 campaign, the longtime Charger will have more snaps as a free defender in 2017. That plays perfectly to his strengths and hides some of the subtle weaknesses in matchup coverage that 32 years of age have brought about."
5) Michael Pierce and Brandon Williams team up for the best run-defending tandem in the league. The defense has only one concern.
The Ravens "far and away" owned the top rush defense last year until it wore down after Week 13, and Benoit credits the pair of 340-pound defensive tackles clogging the middle for the top ranking.
In Benoit's view, the Ravens only have one concern on the defensive side of the ball, and that is at inside linebacker. Second-year rookie Kamalei Correa is still an unknown after transitioning from outside linebacker and getting limited playing time last year. To help compensate, "don't be surprised if the Ravens play big nickel (i.e. three safeties) every down and dime (one linebacker, six defensive backs) on passing downs," says Benoit.
Who Is the Best Football Player From Maryland?
CBS Sports ran a feature that identified the best player from each of the 50 states.
Not who is the best ever, but who was best from the state in which they were born. I took the time to click through the massive photo gallery for you (nice click bait, CBS), and, I have to say, when I finally arrived at Maryland, it was anti-climactic.
That's because the website chose … drum roll … a punter.
Sorry, Sam Koch. I know punters are people too, but seeing Baltimore-born Sean Landeta wasn't as exciting as, say, Florida getting Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith as its representative.
The runners up on the list for Maryland were linebackers Cameron Wake and Julian Peterson and quarterback Doug Flutie.
"A punter? Yes, a punter," Nate Peterson wrote. "No, Landeta never terrorized QBs like linebackers Cameron Wake or Julian Peterson, both five-time Pro Bowlers born in Maryland, but he played more NFL seasons than both of them combined (21) while winning two Super Bowl rings and making three All-Pro teams."