Baltimore Ravens' Joe Flacco and Jim Caldwell have worked together in the current roles for four meaningful games. This may be a bit cherry picking of data, but give the devil his due and understand my rationalization. Jim Caldwell took over the OC position Week 15. He had six days to prepare as the new OC for arguably the hottest team in football and the results were, in hindsight, somewhat predictable. With that said, I chalk the first Denver game up as a "Mulligan". The following week, with the Raven's season on the line, the Giants came to Baltimore, coincidentally with their season on the line also. So this would be a great test, against a playoff caliber team with something at stake. The other three games were of course the three playoff games the Ravens have played so far. I discounted the Ravens last regular season game as it was meaningless and Joe only played a half.
For the four games, the Ravens faced a desperate Giants teams, hosted Indy in the playoffs and went into Denver and New England for road playoff games. Granted Indy’s defense isn’t all that, but New York, Denver and New England all have quality defenses of varying degrees, and two out of three of those quality defenses the Ravens were on the road, which limits the offense’s ability to communicate and make changes on the fly –making it even more difficult for Flacco to operate in.
Four games is also a good number because it makes extrapolation for a full season very easy. So here are Joe’s (and Jim’s) passing numbers for those four games: 60% completion, 1162 yards, 10 TD’s, 0 picks (as in zero, notta, zilch, zippy), 1 lost fumble for a QB rating of 115 and a ridiculous 9 Y/A. Extrapolate those numbers over a full season and you get: 60% (a little low, agreed), 4642 yards, 40 TD’s (!) and 4 turnovers (!!!). Those are very similar to Peyton Manning’s numbers for 2012. Do I believe that Joe will throw for 40 TD’s and 4 turnovers in 2013? No. But he could keep his turnovers to around a dozen or fifteen or so (very respectable) and break 30 TD’s and 4,000 yards. Baltimore will take that for as long as we can.
But how do I justify my rationalization? I took the four most recent meaningful games. Agreed that my numbers are the result of a small data sample, but you get the gist, and they are no less eye-popping.
I think Joe is really going to surprise a lot of folks next season working with Jim Caldwell. And if the Ravens can improve their O-line by a decent amount, Baltimore could become known as a dominating *offensive* team in 2013…