After watching Baltimore Ravens QB Joe Flacco since he has arrived here I am seeing a quarterback where the game is really slowing down for him and he is on the verge of becoming very dangerous to opposing defenses. Before you call me a loon, bear with me a minute and see if you are noticing the same things I am.
In the beginning we had a skinny kid QB that panicked under pressure and took the sack.
Then we saw the second and third year QB that still panicked under pressure but managed to look for Ray Rice, sometimes throw it away and still take too many sacks.
Recently I see something quite different in Joe. He has learned how to move in and out of the pocket, not just panic and run. He is using his physical strength now to avoid tackles with stiff arms and movement. I see him instantly process the locations of the rushers and his protection (even if his blocker has fallen to the ground). He then moves in the proper direction to allow his protection to recover and extend the play. Most importantly, he is looking downfield to make a play, even if they are not open. His receivers and protection are not on the same page with him yet. When they look at the film, (hopefully they are doing this now during the Bye) I think you will see two things happen.
Offensive linemen will not quit and will look for someone else to hit knowing that their QB is trying to extend the play. Receivers will get much better at breaking free after they run the initial route. I see a QB realizing how to make plays. When the team gets on the same page with him we are going to see some big plays after the initial play breaks down. OK, now you can call me crazy, but that's the progress I am seeing from Joe this year.