Flacco Improves On Getting Rid Of Ball

Ezra Shaw

In his earlier years, the Ravens QB seemed to hold onto the ball too long, resulting in sacks, fumbles and turnovers.

Baltimore Ravens QB Joe Flacco is not the most mobile QB in the league by a long shot. While his ability to maneuver around the pocket or backfield has improved greatly, he will never be known as a scrambler, but is the classic pocket passer.

However, just ask the Denver Broncos and San Francisco 49ers, who both were burned badly by Flacco's ability to extend the play and hit his receiver for key plays that directly contributed to their post season victories and ultimately the Lombardi Trophy in Super Bowl XLVII.

Earlier in Flaco's career, he held ont the ball and suffered sacks, fumbles and interceptions due to what appeared to be his inability to decide what to do. Forcing the issue instead of getting rid of the ball, even if it meant throwing it away, there were too many times when it tested the frustrations of coaches, teammates and fans alike.

Not so anymore, as he knows what is going on around him much better and has seemed to make the needed split-second decision to hold onto the ball and wait for the chance to deliver the ball, throw it away or take off outside of the pocket to buy himself time before making that decision.

According to Pro Football Focus, Flacco was among the best in the NFL and not being responsible for being sacked due to holding onto the ball too long. Their formula took multiple factors into account and had him ranked as the fourth best at not causing QB sacks. PFF held him responsible for only two sacks in 756 drop-backs, a percentage of only 0.3%.

In comparison, Tennessee Titans B Jake Locker was the most irresponsible QB in this regard, with eight sacks in only 387 drop-backs (2.1%). That's four times as many sacks as Flacco in around half as many drop-backs. Even Seattle Seahawks rookie phenom QB Russell Wilson had ten sacks in 591 drop-backs, "good" for second-worst in the league.

Surprisingly, only Eli Manning, Chad Henne and Carson Palmer had a lower percentage than the Ravens signal-caller.

Interestingly, when PFF looked at a quarterback's effectiveness when holding onto the ball for at least four seconds, Flacco was merely average, ranking 18th in the league. Then again, if you watched his long heaves after sitting or moving out of the pocket in the post season, you know he certainly did well enough, right?

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