When Joe Flacco came to the Ravens in 2008, the expectation was that he would lead the Ravens back to the top of the NFL.
With five straight playoff appearances and a Super Bowl XLVII MVP out of the gate, Flacco certainly did that.
But the Ravens have missed the playoffs three of the last four years, and there's still more work to be done. Baltimore still has the championship window very much open with Flacco under center. Now the Ravens need to make it happen.
"The expectation was to win the Super Bowl, and he did that," Harbaugh said at the NFL league meetings Tuesday. "And also, I'll say this, [it was] to win multiple Super Bowls. We didn't say to win a Super Bowl and we'd be done.
"The expectation, when he first walked into the building in 2008 was, 'Hey dude, we're going to win multiple Super Bowls. We're going to win multiple championships here.' And we're going to."
There's been much discussion about Flacco this offseason after he posted the 24th-best quarterback rating (83.5) in the league last year.
A reporter asked Harbaugh what the Ravens need from Flacco in 2017. Harbaugh said it was a great question, and gave a long, detailed answer:
"That's the thing that, to me, is kind of the crux of everything for us is what we're able to do together to become a championship football team. Our quarterback, and I've said it before, is a championship quarterback. He's proven that. He's an elite quarterback, he's a franchise quarterback. You name it, that's exactly what it is.
"Our relationship … we're tied together. I believe in Joe Flacco. I believe in what he can do on gameday, I believe in what he does as a leader, I believe in who he is as a family man. I just love the guy. I want to get in the foxhole and go to war with him.
"So what do we need from him? We need him to be him, do what he does, do what he always does – work his butt off, and coach the guys and go out there and compete. That's what he always does. What we need to do is we need to build the best team around him that enhances his skillset. That's what we're really trying to do is build a team around him that makes Joe's skillset most effective. That's our job, that's my job. That's how I look at it. That's on my shoulders to get that done."
The Ravens have more work to do in that area this offseason.
They have lost one of Flacco's most reliable playmakers in wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. to retirement, as well as wide receiver Kamar Aiken. The offensive line is without two of last year's starters after right tackle Rick Wagner signed with the Detroit Lions and the Ravens traded Jeremy Zuttah to the San Francisco 49ers. Versatile Pro Bowl fullback Kyle Juszczyk is also now in San Francisco.
The Ravens picked up wide receiver Mike Wallace's option after he posted 1,017 receiving yards and led the team with 72 catches. They're counting on 2015 first-round pick Breshad Perriman to be a big-time producer.
Baltimore added running back Danny Woodhead in free agency, which will give Flacco a chain-moving target out of the backfield, and dynamic weapon in the red zone. Harbaugh also said he's in favor of signing veteran wide receiver Anquan Boldin, who had excellent chemistry with Flacco, if Boldin wants to return to Baltimore, but that's an unknown.
"[We need to do all] those things we can do to put Joe in position to be great," Harbaugh said. "And Joe's going to do it. I have no doubt in my mind that he's going to do it, and that's why I'm so excited about this season."
Harbaugh was also asked about what Flacco has brought to the table that people perhaps didn't expect, or don't give him credit for.
"I just can't believe how passionate he is and that people don't see it," Harbaugh said. "Get him talking about something he feels strongly about and you see his fire and his passion. How he practices.
"It's amazing to me that people have this vision of him just because of his facial expressions, or the way he's very calm under pressure. That's supposed to be a good thing, and people criticize him for that, which just kind of blows my mind."