View Full Version : John Clayton: Joe Flacco is an elite QB

11-02-2011, 04:53 PM
Don't overemphasize his slump

By John Clayton


Joe Flacco is an elite quarterback. There, I've said it again, and I'm ready for the barrage of criticism.

The timing of this question couldn't be worse, though. Supporting Flacco during the worst throwing slump of his career makes me feel like a slow-footed receiver trying to go out and succeed on (Darrelle) Revis Island. After the Ravens' opening victory over the Steelers, Flacco went on a five-game slump in which he completed only 44 percent of his passes, and his poor first half against the Cardinals on Sunday had Ravens fans ready to run Flacco out of town.

Flacco came back using shotgun formation and spread throwing sets that enabled him to lead the greatest comeback in Ravens history, overcoming a 24-3 deficit in what turned out to be a thrilling 30-27 victory. What first turned me on to Flacco was a 2009 game in which he got into a throwing duel with Brett Favre, then a member of the Minnesota Vikings.

In Minnesota, Flacco generated three fourth-quarter touchdown drives. That forced Favre to counter with a field goal drive that gave the Vikings a lead. Flacco marched the Ravens back into field goal range, but Steven Hauschka missed what should have been the game winner.

To be an elite quarterback, you need to generate fourth-quarter drives. Flacco has that ability. His poor five-game stretch dropped his completion percentage below his usual 60-plus percent range. It will be interesting to see what offensive coordinator Cam Cameron does now.

During the offseason and in training camp, Cameron talked about turning the offense over to Flacco the way the Steelers turned Ben Roethlisberger into more of a passing quarterback. The Ravens have serious offensive line problems, and using Flacco in shotgun might help.

One criticism of Flacco is that he holds on to the ball too long, but part of that is a wide receiver issue. I've seen games in which the Bengals matched up in man coverage against the Ravens' older group of wide receivers. Against that type of coverage, Flacco had to stand in the pocket and watch receivers not separating from defenders, and then wait until RB Ray Rice or a tight end got open.

General manager Ozzie Newsome tried to help that by trading for Lee Evans and drafting Torrey Smith. Unfortunately for Flacco, Evans has missed most of the season with an ankle injury, and all Smith can do at the moment is run go routes down the sidelines. Against man teams, Flacco doesn't get much help.

The start of Flacco's season may not have been elite, but I'll still stand by him.


11-02-2011, 06:37 PM
The Cardinals secondary completely forgot to cover Bolden in the second half. Not to take
too much away from Flacco because he put the ball where it needed to be, but Bolden also
made some outstanding catches in that game.

Flacco elite?

In a uni-brow growing contest, yes!

11-02-2011, 06:54 PM
Perhaps Clayton forgot some spacing and capitalization when he wrote "Joe Flacco is an elite QB."

I think he meant to say "Eli TE" instead of "elite."

Yup, that would be Eli Manning's tight end...Jake Ballard.

Joe Flacco has the quarterbacking skills of Giants' TE Jake Ballard.

John Clayton should now apologize for insulting Jake Ballard's QB skills.

11-02-2011, 07:25 PM
Got two words for you, John... "Tyler Palko". As in the guy who beat Flacco out of a job at Pitt and is now carrying a clipboard as somebody's practice squad 4th stringer.

11-02-2011, 07:37 PM
What does elite mean nowadays

Dee Dub
11-02-2011, 08:20 PM
Excuse me...and where did John Clayton play football? Exactly!!

11-02-2011, 08:24 PM
Put down the crack-pipe, Johnny.... Guess that reunion night out with Sean Salisbury was a little too heavy on the sauce.

11-02-2011, 08:35 PM
Excuse me...and where did John Clayton play football? Exactly!!

The South Park Cows?


11-03-2011, 01:43 PM
FWIW this is a point/counterpoint discoussion, so when asked the question somebody had to take the "elite" side. It is not like he went and decided to write an article on his own accord.

A more intriguing question is how did this question actually come up?

BTW according to the fan poll right now it is 81% against him being elite, 19% living in Maryland :lol:

11-03-2011, 02:04 PM
Here's a mid-season ranking of all the QB's -


If you don't want to read: Here's his top 5

1. Rodgers
2. Roethlisberger
3. Brady
4. Fitzpatrick
5. Newton

So much for elite....
22. Joe Flacco, Ravens: Baltimore thought he would take his game to the next level in his fourth season, but over his last four outings he has thrown for only one TD, with four interceptions, and is on pace to finish with the worst completion percentage and most interceptions of his career.

11-03-2011, 02:38 PM
Define elite.

If he considers the to 10-15 QB's "elite". Then perhaps.

Ignoring this year and his "slump", I can name at last 8 active QB's that have better career numbers.

I don't know how Clatyon garnered the reputation he has.

11-03-2011, 09:22 PM
FWIW this is a point/counterpoint discoussion, so when asked the question somebody had to take the "elite" side.

BTW according to the fan poll right now it is 81% against him being elite, 19% living in Maryland :lol:

you are correct, here is the other side of the argument:

Inconsistency can't be overlooked

By Ashley Fox

Joe Flacco is not an elite quarterback. He is good, and he has the potential to be very good. But elite quarterbacks are the great ones, and Flacco, now in his fourth season with the Baltimore Ravens, isn't consistent enough to be considered great.

Just look at Flacco's past five games. He has been all over the map. In Week 3 at St. Louis, he threw for 389 yards and three touchdowns, with zero interceptions. The next week against the New York Jets, he misfired on 21 of 31 passes and threw for only 163 yards. Talk about inconsistent: Flacco went two entire quarters without throwing a completion.

That is not elite.

After a bye, Flacco completed more than 60 percent of his passes for 305 yards against Houston. A week later, he threw for 137 yards in a loss to Jacksonville. Then last week, in a rousing comeback against Arizona, Flacco threw for 336.

Hot. Cold. Hot. Cold. Hot.

For the season, Flacco has completed a career-low 53.8 percent of his passes, including 46.9 percent in Week 2 at Tennessee, with eight touchdowns and six interceptions. Those aren't elite numbers.

Flacco has great size and a big arm and he isn't afraid of contact. He is very good out of the shotgun with short, quick throws. He seems to thrive in a hurry-up situation.

But Flacco is not a drop-back passer. He doesn't lead his receivers, and although he has improved his ability to escape pressure, Flacco usually doesn't do much with the ball once he does. He doesn't turn the ball over in those situations, but he doesn't create plays, either.

Not everybody gets the "elite" status. It is reserved for consistently great players who throw for a lot of yards, have high completion percentages, avoid turnovers and win games. You know them when you see them. Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Drew Brees are at the head of the class. Peyton Manning is there when healthy. Ben Roethlisberger, Eli Manning, Michael Vick, Matt Schaub and Philip Rivers, among others, are there, although Rivers is turning the ball over way too much this season. Some young players are making arguments to get into that category, most notably Cam Newton.

Flacco wins games. He is 41-21 since 2008 and is tied with Roethlisberger for the most wins, including the playoffs, in that span.

Flacco is good, potentially very good. He's just not consistent enough to be considered elite.


Discipline of Steel
11-03-2011, 11:13 PM
Joe Flacco is an elite QB if you consider all the QBs on the face of the earth.

11-04-2011, 08:28 AM
Well I certainly am glad we've finally decided that to be the case. Now Joe can get back to focusing on exactly how many ways he will throw picks to the Steelers on Sunday.

11-04-2011, 08:48 AM
The only thing elite about Flacco is his paycheck and his unibrow..

11-04-2011, 08:56 AM
The only thing elite about Flacco is his paycheck and his unibrow..


11-05-2011, 12:33 AM
Flacco brings unflappable nature to Ravens

Friday, November 4, 2011


OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Quarterback Joe Flacco walked slowly into the Baltimore indoor practice facility with a look of indifference, as linebacker Terrell Suggs drew an imaginary line in the sand, then dared the rival Steelers to cross it.

Flacco resisted the urge to laugh. If he had, it would have been out of character.

The Ravens' sometimes-placid quarterback is as up and down as the stock market, a stark contrast to his steady persona.

Flacco put together perhaps his best effort in nine career games against the Steelers when the AFC North rivals met in the season opener in Baltimore. Flacco, with his emotions buried, threw for 224 yards and three touchdowns in a 35-7 rout.

He'll attract plenty of attention Sunday night when the Ravens step onto Heinz Field in a highly anticipated rematch.

Even amid the resonant thundering of cheers at M&T Bank Stadium in Week 1, Flacco wouldn't pop the cork to celebrate a victory that seemingly cemented him as the unquestioned leader of a team desperate to remove an albatross.

The Steelers have blocked Baltimore's postseason path to the Super Bowl three times since its championship season a decade ago. And when the Steelers turned back the Ravens, 31-24, in a divisional playoff game last season, Flacco was seemingly as unmoved in defeat as he is in victory.

"(Flacco) is a tough guy who is calm under pressure," Ravens offensive tackle Michael Oher said. "He talks a little more because I think he understands this is his team."

Flacco, though, defers the leadership role to his more vocal teammates, linebacker Ray Lewis and safety Ed Reed.

"It's just Joe's personality," tight end Ed Dickson said. "He's calm whether we're up big or down big. It's a good trait to have in a quarterback.

"Sometimes, you want the rah-rah guy. But those guys tend to get down on themselves when they throw an interception or fumble. It's something that will affect the rest of your teammates."

Flacco didn't flinch when the Ravens spotted the Arizona Cardinals 21 points on Sunday. He didn't throw his helmet in frustration or chastise his receivers for dropping slightly wayward throws.

Instead, for one of the few times in his four-year career, Flacco challenged his teammates in the locker room. It wasn't a long, vociferous diatribe. He simply reminded the uninspired Ravens that the Cardinals weren't their equal.

"Joe said we couldn't get it all back on one drive," Dickson recalled. "There was no panic. All of a sudden, other guys stepped up."

Flacco doesn't have a reputation for snatching victory from the jaws of defeat, but he earned plenty of respect in rallying the Ravens to a 30-27 victory.

Even for Flacco, the largest comeback in team history was worth getting excited about.

"I don't know what happened to Joe," rookie receiver Torrey Smith said. "I was in la-la land, and Joe comes running full speed, and he about knocked me over. Then he came after me again.

"It was fun to see Joe get excited. It isn't something he does often."

Flacco typically is bailed out by one of the stingiest defenses in the league. Last weekend, however, he propped up the defense with plenty of help from running back Ray Rice, who scored three times.

"If we don't recover in the second half (against Arizona), then I might be worrying about some of the guys and our confidence," said Flacco, who completed 31 of 51 passes for 336 yards said. "But the way we rallied and stuck behind each other, I think that will help us out this week."

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said earlier this week there was little doubt the Ravens would mount a second-half charge. In the past, Flacco said, only New England and Pittsburgh had a reputation of winning no matter how dire the situation.

"Now we're one of those teams," Flacco said. "We know how to win football games, and we can win the game in a lot of different ways.

"We like to get out ahead of you and be able to control the game the rest of the way. People around the league understand that we are a good football team. They're probably hoping for us to lose."

Flacco is often criticized as being an underachiever. He can counter by pointing to his results: Only Dan Marino has as many wins (36) in the first three years of an NFL career.

Flacco can further enhance his dossier by again leading the Ravens to victory over the Steelers.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... z1cnJj5iFS (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_765451.html#ixzz1cnJj5iFS)

11-05-2011, 03:17 PM
If 53.8% completions and the complete inability to move the ball without a stud RB makes you elite, then, yes, Flacco is right up there with the best of 'em. :roll:

11-05-2011, 05:01 PM
Flacco is often criticized as being an underachiever. He can counter by pointing to his results: Only Dan Marino has as many wins (36) in the first three years of an NFL career.

Yup, he is exactly like Dan Marino.

11-06-2011, 12:58 AM
Flacco admits offense played 'like crap' recently

November 4, 2011
Posted by Ryan Wilson


Joe Flacco on the type of offense we'll see Sunday against the Steelers: 'A good one.'

Eight weeks ago, the Ravens beat the Steelers like they stole something. Earlier this month, Rice told CBSSports.com that that game won't mean much when the two teams get together this Sunday night because Pittsburgh has a history of getting better as the season progresses.

Turns out, Rice was right; the Steelers have played well the past month, highlighted by last week's win over the Patriots. The Ravens, meanwhile, have struggled, losing to the Jaguars on national television two weeks ago, and beating the Cardinals last Sunday but only after trailing by 21 points.

Both teams have issues -- the Ravens' passing game is a mess and offensive coordinator Cam Cameron and quarterback Joe Flacco have taken plenty of heat for it. The Steelers' have injuries to key defensive players and that could be a factor Sunday.

Flacco, who completed 58 percent of his passes the last two games with two picks and a touchdown, thinks the Ravens' offense, despite recent history, can play well against the Steelers.

“A good one,” Flacco said Wednesday when asked why type of offense we'll see Sunday. “We are going to go in there with a game plan, one that we can be successful with – things that we do well – and we are going to go execute it to the best of our ability. That’s going to be the key. We have to go in there, and we have to play the way we know how to play. We can’t go out there and make mistakes, not execute things, [and] look like crap like we have for a little bit the last couple of weeks. We have to go in there and just play the football we know how to – which was most of this season and the second half of last gam

No one would dispute the charge that the Ravens' offense has been dung-tastic at various points this season. Either way, Flacco is using the Week 1 matchup as inspiration for this one. “We have to look back at it and see what we did well, and see what we can carry over to this game plan,” he said, according to the Baltimore Sun.

In that game, Flacco had career highs in touchdowns (three) and passer rating (117.6 passer rating), wide receiver Anquan Boldin scored his third touchdown in four meetings with Pittsburgh, and running back Ray Rice ran for 107 yards, only the third 100-yard rushing performance against the Steelers in their previous 58 games.

But it was Baltimore's defense that was the difference in Week 1. They created seven (!) turnovers, gave their offense great field position, and sacked quarterback Ben Roethlisberger four times, three courtesy of Terrell Suggs who announced earlier this week that he owns Big Ben.

“God can have his soul, but his [butt] belongs to me,” said Suggs, who has 15.5 career sacks against Big Ben. “You all know the numbers. There’s nobody that does it better than me."

Joe Flacco and the Baltimore Ravens will travel to Heinz Field to take on Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday night. Who will come out on top? Jason Horowitz and NFL.com's Pat Kirwan preview this upcoming game.
Roethlisberger, when apprised of Suggs' remarks, offered this (via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette):

I've heard that quote," Big Ben said. "I've got no problem with it. It is what it is ... I know Terrell a little bit. He's actually a good guy. We joke around on the field, so I don't think he meant anything bad by it. I just think he let out a little emotion after finally beating me."

Receiver Antonio Brown, who has quietly emerged as one of the young Steelers playmakers, added this: “We really owe [the Ravens] one this time around,” he said, referring to the Week 1 loss. “You always remember that, seeing those guys celebrate like they won the Super Bowl, seeing those guys get really hyped.”

http://www.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/entr ... 8/33105521 (http://www.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/entry/22475988/33105521)