Ravens fans wanted, and got, a more vocal leader in Joe Flacco

Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

The often quiet quarterback of the Ravens begins to speak up.

Joe Flacco won a Super Bowl and was that game's MVP. He's had tremendous success in five and a half NFL seasons. Yet he'll continue to face criticism until he retires given how many digits are in his bank account.

This season, Flacco hasn't done much to reshape the thoughts of his naysayers for what he does on-field, but he is changing when he speaks with the media.

Flacco is vocal and it's awesome.

Within the span of four days, Flacco has criticized not only his own coaches' decisions, but those of his opponents as well.

Thursday's Thanksgiving throw-down with the Steelers will be one to remember, most likely by the actions of Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, who appeared to purposefully try to trip Ravens kick returner Jacoby Jones while blowing past the Steelers kickoff unit.

Tripping a returner was something that Flacco received plenty of criticism for, as Flacco was the victim of cameras and microphones being placed everywhere around a football field and his plan of tackling a 49ers player on a kickoff was documented.

"Mike Tomlin stopped us one time," Flacco said with plenty of laughter from the media. "I took some flak for joking around in the Super Bowl and saying that maybe you should run onto the field and tackle somebody if this guy breaks it. That's exactly what he did. He was looking at the big screen the whole entire time. He know where he was, and he knew where Jacoby [Jones] was. He pulled my move. He did what I thought we should do."

Even in a lighthearted tone, it was great to see Flacco speak up and say what many who were frustrated with the play were hoping to hear.

Flacco's comments come on the heels of his criticism of his own coaching staff taking the ball out of his hands nine-times during last Sunday's overtime victory. Flacco was relegated to a wide receiver as backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor took snaps in the Wildcat offense.

"I don't like that stuff," Flacco said. "I think it makes you look like a high school offense. That's just my opinion."

Flacco further lamented that he wants to be in control of the offense.

"I'm the quarterback. I want to be behind the line of scrimmage, I want to be taking the snaps," he said. "That's really the only thing. I don't necessarily take it personally, either, in terms of our offense trying to get better. I just think it makes us look like not an NFL team."

I don't know about you, but I love this version of Flacco who seems full of piss and vinegar likely because he's been a punching bag for a struggling offense. Flacco doesn't strike me as someone who really cares about others thoughts. But at a certain point, it's only human to take it personal, speak up and show people that you're in control of this football team.

Flacco didn't want the Wildcat in this offense. Guess how many times the Ravens ran it on Thursday against the Steelers?

Not once.

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