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Late For Work 9/13: NFLN Analyst Criticizes Joe Flacco's Post-Game Comments


NFLN Analyst Criticizes Flacco's Post-Game Comments

NFL Network analyst and former NFL fullback Heath Evans was complimentary of quarterback Joe Flacco's play Monday night.

But he was critical of Flacco's post-game comments.

The last two seasons the Ravens have lost their Week 2 outings after emotionally-charged, season-opening victories.

When asked about that trend, Evans, who has played alongside Tom Brady and Drew Brees, said Flacco hasn't led his team well after those games, pointing to the fifth-year quarterbacks' Monday night quotes as an example.

"T]he bottom line is this offensive side of the ball has been [poorly led by Joe Flacco after big wins," Evans said, per The Baltimore Sun. "What really scares me is he comes out and runs his mouth after the [Monday night] game about how, 'I always play good. You should just watch the tape. I do this, I'm this, I'm that.'

"Well, don't tell people what you do. He had played the best game of his career in my opinion and then comes out and tells us about it. Don't do that. Let us praise you, and don't appear insecure because you're always having to pat yourself on the back."

It is important to give full context to the quote Evans is referring to.

Flacco was asked after the game whether he felt like this was his year.

"I don't concern myself about that. That's for you guys to talk about," Flacco responded. "I think I play good every year; I think I play good every game. Obviously, we all have things to work on and improve on. I'm doing that just as much as everyone else is.

"Like I said, I'll leave that to you guys. You guys usually, two weeks after the game, you guys twist that game into whatever you want it to say it was anyways. If you guys decide to start twisting it good in my favor, than I'm all for it."

The last comment about twisting a story was said light-heartedly and drew laughter from the assembled media.

If you consider Heath's take a "twist" on Flacco's story from Monday night, it looks like it didn't take two weeks as Flacco predicted. It took two days.

Theory On Vick … Behind Closed Doors

Was Michael Vick's abysmal, four-turnover performance against the Cleveland Browns last week a one-game blip or something more serious?

That's what fans and media in Philadelphia are trying to figure out as the team prepares to take on the Baltimore Ravens defense Sunday.

"This sounds almost preposterous, but some in the sport believe that Vick’s] struggles in Cleveland [were not an aberration," wrote's Mike Freeman.

One scout told Freeman that no one is scared of Vick anymore.

"Around professional football, in the offices of some scouts and the minds of some defensive assistants, something is happening that has gone mostly unnoticed, these people say: NFL defenses have adjusted to Michael Vick.

"This is the theory that more than a few people in the league are talking about behind closed doors. It goes like this ..."

In summary, Freeman explains that the league has drastically changed since Vick came into it 10 years ago and defenses have become more effective in slowing scrambling passers. That can be a dangerous thing if a scrambling quarterback doesn't throw with accuracy, as some are apparently saying about Vick.

Thus, if a defense is able to crowd the line of scrimmage and limit the scrambling, Vick has a difficult time making them pay with accurate throws.

"[B]ased on what I've seen, and what people I trust tell me, Vick's accuracy when under duress has declined," wrote Freeman. "He threw four interceptions against a sorry Cleveland team. That says a great deal.

"Doesn't mean it will stay that way, but if there is some truth to this theory it could be a long year in Philadelphia."

Poor Play Could Have Upshaw Starting Soon

Despite so much going right for the Ravens in Week 1, there is one area where the team could be looking to upgrade, says The Baltimore Sun's Matt Vensel.

At the outside linebacker positions, Paul Kruger and Albert McClellan got the start. But Kruger finished with only one assisted tackle and no sacks and McClellan notched two tackles with no sacks.

Meanwhile, coming off the bench, rookie Courtney Upshaw "made his presence felt" during his 29 snaps [40 percent of total snaps] on defense.

Upshaw split a sack with Pernell McPhee when the two rushed quarterback Andy Dalton early in the fourth quarter. The rookie told reporters that he was close a couple of other times. Upshaw had a total of four tackles.

"I]f he keeps it up, [Upshaw may be starting soon enough," Vensel wrote. "Paul Kruger and Albert McClellan started at outside linebacker in the season opener, but they were mostly non-factors, combining to make just three tackles. With Terrell Suggs sidelined, they need someone to step up at rush linebacker, and Upshaw could be the guy."

Another Competition To Watch: McClain vs. Ellerbe

The Sun's Aaron Wilson called it a “somewhat unusual sight.”

He was referring to starting inside linebacker Jameel McClain, who signed a three-year deal this offseason, standing on the sidelines while Dannell Ellerbe took a majority of the workload.

"McClain was designated to play against obvious run formations with Ellerbe's extended playing time stemming from the Bengals' tendency to pass often," wrote Wilson.

Per Wilson, Ellerbe played 49 snaps (20 runs) and McClain played 31 snaps (16 runs).

"We've got our own packages," Ellerbe said. "If it's more pass, then I'm in. If it had been more I-formation stuff, Jameel would have played more. It all depends on the formation."

Ultimate Franchise Rankings: Ravens No. 11

ESPN The Magazine came out with its 2012 Ultimate Franchise Rankings, a list that rates all pro franchises across the MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL.

Eight major categories were used to make up the ultimate standings, which were combined into one final weighted average. (More on their methodology.)

The Ravens ranked 11th out of 122 teams, which is a big jump from last year's ranking of No. 21.

Here's how Baltimore ranked in each of the eight categories:

Bang For The Buck (wins during the past three years per revenues directly from fans): 19
Fan Relations: 13
Ownership: 5
Affordability: 46
Stadium Experience: 14
Players(effort on the field and likability off it): 5
Coaching: 18
Title Track: 25

Pats and Ravens Already Thinking Ahead?

The New England Patriots made an under-the-radar signing yesterday by adding safety Chyl Quarles to their practice squad.

Quarles was recently released by the Ravens. Instead of keeping the rookie free agent from Wake Forest, Baltimore signed James Ihedigbo, who started 12 games for New England last season.

"John Harbaugh will hope to gain some additional information on the Pats from Ihedigbo, and now it looks like Belichick may try to do the same with Quarles," wrote Kris Jones of "Things like this happen all the time and there is nothing unusual about it. It's all but certain that Dean Pees didn't tip his full hand when it comes to his defensive scheme. It's possible that a whole new set of terminology is in place when they take the field next Sunday, compared to what Quarles saw in camp.

"One thing is for sure – each coach does whatever they can to gain the advantage and the chances of Quarles having a job after September 23rd are slim. We'll get a better feeling for the intent of the move following the game. If Quarles is still on the practice squad when the Patriots come to town, the guess here is that he won't be for long afterwards." 

Quick Hits

  • @mattvensel: Adam Schefter just said that Joe Flacco looked like "an MVP candidate" against the Bengals. Your thoughts on that? #Ravens [Twitter]
  • Mike Sando thinks so too. He has Flacco listed at No. 8 on his MVP watch after Week 1. Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan, Peyton Manning, Robert Griffin III, Drew Brees, Alex Smith,  Flacco, Tony Romo and Calvin Johnson round out the top 10. [ESPN]
  • @CSteele32 Chad Steele, Ravens PR]: Since entering the NFL in '08, Joe Flacco has a 45-20 record, [tied with Drew Brees for the most wins among NFL QBs during that span #Ravens [Twitter]
  • A little more info on Kruger (back), who did not practice yesterday … @jeffzrebiecsun: For what it's worth, Paul Kruger said it will take a couple of days to get back to work but he fully expects to play Sunday. #Ravens. [Twitter]
  • For those watching Monday night's game from home, you may not have known the Ravens highlighted a group of Orioles that were in attendance, including Adam Jones, J.J. Hardy, Matt Wieters, Jim Johnson, Mark Reynolds and Darren O'Day. Jeff Zrebiec thought it was a nice gesture and a cool scene. "I feel pretty comfortable in saying that this 'perceived dislike' that some people think the two organizations share is way overblown. In the last couple of months, Bisciotti, other Ravens' officials and most of the team's prominent players have been at Camden Yards to take in a game. And I was told 18 to 20 Orioles were at the Ravens' game Monday." [The Baltimore Sun]
  • "One of the best stories that slipped through the cracks nationally is how Ma'ake Kemoeatu has re-emerged as a defensive force with the Ravens," wrote John Clayton. "Injuries made it appear as though Kemoeatu's career could be an end. Now, he has moved past Terrence Cody as the team's starting nose tackle. It will be difficult to run up the middle against the Ravens with Haloti Ngata and Kemoeatu clogging the middle. Kemoeatu lost 80 points to mount this comeback." [ESPN]
  • Five teams scored at least 40 points in Week 1, including the Jets, Ravens and Redskins. Are Mark Sanchez, Joe Flacco and Robert Griffin III really this good? Peter King weighs in. []
  • Why are the people of Baltimore so accepting of Steve Bisciotti? "I'm one of them," he says. Here's an exclusive sit-down interview with the Ravens owner. [ABC 7]
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