Late For Work 9/3: Joe Flacco Most Underappreciated QB In Football

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Flacco Most Underappreciated QB In Football

You hear this type of stuff from local media and fans, but it's rare for a national reporter to come out and say it so strongly.

TheMMQB.com's Andy Benoit wants to know when people will finally start recognizing Ravens franchise quarterback Joe Flacco as one of the NFL's superstars.

Benoit then answers his own question with a massive prediction:

"Maybe that will change this season during Super Bowl 50 Media Day," Benoit wrote. "If all goes right, that's where his Ravens will end up."

Let's put aside that some fans are starting to feel uncomfortable with the increasing Super Bowl predictions for Baltimore (they're used to people doubting the purple and black), and focus on why Benoit thinks Flacco can take the Ravens to the promised land in San Francisco.

The writer names all the stats we've heard before: 1) Flacco is a winner with a 10-5 postseason record, 2) he earned the Super Bowl XLVII MVP award and 3) he's durable and never missed a game.

There's more.

"Flacco is the most underappreciated quarterback in football—by far," Benoit declared. "He's an elite superstar blessed with all the physical traits you look for: size, arm strength, precision accuracy, and even mobility. … These characteristics enable the eighth-year veteran to fit the ball into the tight windows, a requirement for beating man coverage in the NFL. Flacco is also cerebral, which shows in the way he identifies and picks apart defensive zones."

The knock on Flacco is that he can be inconsistent in the regular season, although I don't know of many players that are "on" 100 percent of the time. I've seen the likes of Peyton Manning and Drew Brees put up some stinkers.

So Benoit attributes the lack of praise to something else.

"Flacco's biggest problem is one of perception, because he comes across as bland," he wrote. "But if you listen to what he says and not how he says it, you realize that he's thoughtful, refreshingly honest and eloquent — yet he continues to get overlooked and underestimated."

Flacco was a guest on Mad Dog Sports Radio yesterday, and he was asked whether the "elite" debate ever gets to him. His response was the closest I've ever heard him say it might bug him a little. But it only bugs in a "moment of weakness" when his brothers and close friends give him a hard time. Otherwise, in everyday life, he doesn't even consider the chatter.

The lack of recognition clearly doesn't bother Joe Cool when he's on the field. And he's certainly made a believer out of Benoit.

"However you slice it, this is a talented Ravens offense, operating in a good scheme, under a very smart coach, and on the shoulders of one of the game's elite superstar quarterbacks," he wrote. "There's your Super Bowl formula."

By the way, it looks like Flacco's also made a believer out of these three cuties ...

Ravens Lead League In Training Camp Injuries

It felt like the Ravens had an inordinate amount of injuries during training camp, but "all teams suffer injuries" you tell yourself.

That's true, but the numbers don't lie.

No NFL team sustained more injuries during camp and the first two preseason games than the Ravens.

According to NJ.com's Jordan Raanan, who worked with beat writers from all 32 teams to compile injury reports, the Ravens had 17 training camp injuries which tied the New York Jets for the most in the league.  (See the full breakdown in the tweeted images below.)

The "good news" (?) is the Ravens are tied for eighth in injuries to starters (three) and tied for seventh in the number of players that are done for the season (three).

Raanan doesn't name the specific Ravens he counted for each category, but my guess is wide receiver Breshad Perriman is among the projected injured starters and safety Matt Elam (biceps) and defensive end Brent Urban (biceps) may be among the three he counted as lost for the season. Although, there's still a chance that Urban could be given a designation to return.

Chip Kelly Changes His Tune On Suggs' Hit

After a couple members of his team blasted outside linebacker Terrell Suggs for his controversial, yet legal, hit on quarterback Sam Bradford, Eagles Head Coach Chip Kelly has changed his tune.

He now says he understands why Suggs' hit was legal.  Kelly originally thought it was illegal, even after NFL Vice President of Officiating Dean Blandino said it shouldn't have been flagged.

What changed Kelly's mind? It was an officiating videotape sent to teams by the league that further clarified the rules on hitting a quarterback.

"Those are the rules, so if you're handing the ball off, you can be hit," Kelly said Monday, via the Philadelphia Inquirer. "Whether you're underneath the center, it doesn't matter what run play you have. It was explained to us that you could have your back turned to the defense and if there's potential for you to bootleg out of it, then you can hit. Those are the rules. We'll practice with the rules they got."

I wonder if Suggs feels vindicated now. Probably not.

"Suggs has already made it clear he never really cared what the Eagles thought," wrote CSNBaltimore.com's Clifton Brown.

Would Ravens Be Interested In RB Montee Ball?

With the Ravens' reported interest in former Bills running back Fred Jackson, it appears the team is looking for more depth at the position group after Lorenzo Taliaferro went down with a knee injury.

Since Jackson seems primed to sign with the Seattle Seahawks, The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec has another proposed signing.

"This is total speculation on my part, but you wonder if the Ravens have shown any interest in Denver Broncos running back Montee Ball, who is almost certainly available in a trade and could be on the waiver wire soon," wrote Zrebiec.

Ball was selected in the second round of the 2013 draft, but has been a "huge disappointment" says Zrebiec. Ball is fourth on the Denver depth chart behind C.J. Anderson, Ronnie Hillman and Juwan Thompson.

"It seems unlikely that two teams who play each other in less than two weeks would make a trade," added Zrebiec. "However, the Ravens would have to at least be intrigued. Their running backs coach, Thomas Hammock, was Ball's position coach at Wisconsin."

Tyrod Taylor Will Make Ravens 'Richer'

The Ravens are very happy for their former backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor, who was recently named the starter for the Buffalo Bills.

"Congratulations to Tyrod," Harbaugh said. "I know we all believed that he could be that kind of a player. He and I had that conversation many times. Congrats to him, and [I am] happy for [Bills Head Coach] Rex [Ryan] that he has him."

You know what would make the Ravens even happier?Taylor keeping the starting job all season long, so it works in their favor once it comes time for the league to hand out compensatory picks. 

TheMMQB.com's Robert Klemko joked about what GM Ozzie Newsome could do with a compensatory pick from Taylor.

Ravens' Mathematician Urschel Breaks Down Odds Of Making NFL Roster

There is a whole lot of meaning in tonight's "meaningless" fourth and final preseason game.

That's the case for at least it's meaningful for a handful of roster bubble folks who are playing for their NFL dreams.

Ravens resident mathematician and offensive lineman John Urschel broke down the odds on PlayerTribune.com and with the two GIFs below.

"Here's what is true. In 2014, of the 1,696 roster spots filled for Week 1 of the regular season, 1,403 of the players had previously been on an active roster or injured reserve," Urschel wrote. "Another 199 were picked in that year's draft. The odds for making an NFL team if you are not a rookie draft pick or an NFL veteran are dismal."

Quick Hits

  • I love it when national media start to figure out what locals have been saying for a while. "Learn the name ," wrote Benoit. "The 2013 third-round pick has been absolutely sensational at nose tackle. With Haloti Ngata gone, maybe people will now notice." [TheMMQB.com]
  • "As the Baltimore Orioles celebrated the 20th anniversary of Cal Ripken's record-breaking 2,131st consecutive game, one has to wonder whether Baltimore Ravens fans are witnessing the city's football iron man," wrote Jamison Hensley. "Joe Flacco has never missed a game since joining the Ravens in 2008, starting 112 straight contests." [ESPN] 
  • There is some concern over the Ravens' pass rush behind Suggs and Elvis Dumervil. "Edge rushers are just not readily available in the NFL, so I'm not sure what Newsome could add in the coming days that would be a significant upgrade," wrote Zrebiec. "But the Ravens better hope that Dumervil and Suggs stay healthy and there isn't a big drop off with the two vets, because it's tough to see their defense being very successful if it's not mounting a consistent pass rush." [The Baltimore Sun]
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