Good day to you, my fellow citizens of Baltimore Beatdown! I don’t post a whole lot around here, but I do read most things posted on the site. I guess the internet term for someone like me would be a "lurker", a term which gets my mind thinking about the Jak and Daxter video game universe more than anything else, but this is neither here nor there. After seeing the "writers wanted" call emblazoned on the front page of the website, I figured I would give a fanpost a try and see what you folks thought. For the record, I’m not a Ravens fan, but the rampant "homerism" on most of the blogs dedicated to my favorite team sickens me, so I refuse to post on them. If not being a fan of the team automatically disqualifies me from consideration, that is fine. I’m going to give it the old college try anyway! So…yeah. Here goes!
Anyone who followed baseball from 2005-2008 has probably heard of the legendary sabermetric blog elegantly entitled FireJoeMorgan.com. Although it was a relatively short-lived venture, this site featured perhaps some of the finest baseball writing I have ever read, bringing logic and reasoning into a field (sports journalism) dominated by superstition, crotchety stuck-in-the-mud old timers, and disturbing David Eckstein fetishists. More importantly, the writers behind FireJoeMorgan were uproariously funny to nerds such as myself. In any event, the standard modus operandi on the site was to take an article about baseball written by the mainstream media, break it down, and make fun of the substandard writing and/or logic holding the whole flimsy thing together. This, then, is what I plan to do to Mike Preston of the Baltimore Sun, who has some strange ideas about Joe Flacco. Excerpts from the article are bolded, my comments are in standard typeface.
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It isn't time to worry yet, but at least keep an eye on the situation.
What is up with Joe Flacco?
I don’t know man, I really don’t know. I don’t have access to Mr. Flacco, but I assume, since you say that there is no need to worry, that he is probably doing things that football players do during the preseason, like working with his teammates or studying game tape, maybe lifting weights or something. These are just educated guesses though, don’t hold me to any of that, alright?
It has only been two preseason games, but so far all we've seen is the average Flacco that played for most of the 2012 regular season, and that is concerning.
Huh? Now it is "concerning"? Didn't you just say, like, two sentences ago that it isn't time to worry? Are you playing mind games with me man? Because if so, I would kindly ask you to stop at once, for I do not appreciate having my mind played with, sir! Only I should be allowed to play with my mind! It's mine!
If this was Joe Montana or John Elway, there would be no interest or intrigue. But Flacco's entire body of work throughout his five-year career hasn't been the model of consistency.
Really? If Montana or Elway played as "average" as Flacco is playing now, you wouldn't be concerned, but because Flacco is less consistent than those two, his average play is of more concern? You have that backwards, dude. You are implying that Flacco is often inconsistent, which would make this stretch of average play pretty normal for him. You are also implying that Montana and Elway were always consistent, but even if they were to stop being consistent very suddenly, you wouldn't be at all concerned? Eh? If they are always consistent, how can they sometimes be average..? You're losing me man, my brain is beginning to throb a bit. Please explain yourself, Mr. Preston.
Even though he signed a $120.6 million contract in March, one of the big questions surrounding the Ravens was if Flacco just hit another hot streak in the postseason, or had he hit the high level of consistency which put him on the brink of greatness?
For the first two weeks of training camp, he was a new Joe, more animated and colorful, yet relaxed as he mingled more with teammates on the sideline. He showed touch on the short and intermediate passes and seemed more comfortable in the offense than ever before.
Joe Flacco: expert in sideline mingling. Super important part of being a great quarterback. Again, missing the part where I am supposed to be concerned here. In any case, I don’t think the first few weeks of training camp are going to determine whether or not Flacco is worth $120 Million.
But in the last two weeks of practice, he has been inaccurate. It has continued in the two preseason games where Flacco has completed 14 of 18 passes, but a lot of those haven't been on target. He has thrown two interceptions, and they were terrible, one a floater that Flacco hung up on the right sideline against Tampa Bay, and the other in Atlanta where the Falcons seemed more like the intended receivers than Jacoby Jones.
Colin Kaepernick, the quarterback across from Flacco in the Super Bowl last year, just completed 1 of two passes for -3 yards against Kansas City, and now has completed 5 passes in the preseason for a total of 35 yards. Should people be worried about Kaepernick’s performance? Keep in mind that Colin and his tattoos have played the equivalent of about one full NFL season, whereas Flacco has played five full seasons now, leading the Ravens to the playoffs each year. If Flacco’s preseason performance concerns you, Kaepernick fans should be jumping off cliffs all across the country, right?
No, not right. Because it is the preseason.
"I threw it into a bee's nest. I thought Jacoby might be able to get around the Sam linebacker, so I kind of threw it off of his shoulder, but Jacoby was just getting behind there, so I threw it into too many people," said Flacco of his pass which eventually became a 2-yard Atlanta touchdown in the second quarter. "The [defensive back] that was behind Jacoby that was breaking on the play, it hit him in the thigh and sent the ball up in the air."
That's been the problem with a lot of Flacco passes this preseason. He threw behind tight end Visanthe Shiancoe twice Thursday night and has been high on several passes including one in the right flat that almost got running back Damien Berry decapitated against Atlanta.
So Flacco has thrown some off-target passes this preseason. Isn't preseason the perfect time to be throwing these poor passes? You would rather have Flacco get picked off in games that mean nothing and work out the kinks that way, wouldn't you? I’m more than happy to concede that Flacco hasn't been perfect, but I still don’t understand the point of your article, my good sir.
Last year, especially in the crunch, receiver Anquan Boldin would have snatched those out of the air, but Boldin is in San Francisco now. Flacco can't pitch like he is throwing to Yao Ming anymore.
Just a weird analogy, where you talk about throwing a "pitch" to Yao Ming, a retired basketball player and a genuine freak of nature. I wouldn't describe Flacco’s throws to Anquan Boldin last season as something akin to "pitching" to Yao Ming, but maybe that is just the rational, logical side of me talking. You weren't trying to appeal to my insane, mixed-up analogy side, were you Mr. Preston? Oh…you were? You are kind of a weird dude, you know that?
He isn't the only offensive player who is struggling. In fact, right now the Ravens have no rhythm. They can't pass and they can't run. They can't stay on the field because the first offense has only six first downs in three quarters of play.
It's been ugly.
Oh…ok, so this whole thing about Flacco’s performance being poor isn't really his fault to begin with? What is the point of your article again?
The Ravens have some excuses. They haven't had their best offensive lineman, guard Marshal Yanda, yet because of offseason shoulder surgery and they just got receiver Brandon Stokley, and tight end Dallas Clark this week. But they might also want to ask Flacco about his problems lately.
Those are all valid concerns, and are probably affecting Flacco in one way or another. Thank you for bringing them up, and once again shooting your own argument in the proverbial foot.
But what is up with Flacco? Is he bored? Is his arm tired? Are these timing issues?
Huh? Did you just forget all the things you mentioned in your previous two paragraphs? Maybe some of those are having an effect on Flacco? You know, like trying to get on the same page with Stokley and Clark, or not having Yanda to protect him; things that, again, you just mentioned like 30 seconds ago? Still really struggling with the premise of this article, my man.
Whenever the experts talk about the Ravens, it's like Flacco is beyond reproach because of the new contract. But right now, his game is a little off for whatever reason.
I wouldn't say he is beyond reproach at all. I would say that you shouldn't read so much into his performance through TWO PRESEASON GAMES.
There are some people in this town ready to panic, and no one should be at that point. There isn't even any need for heavy breathing. But there have been cases before where a player signed a big contract, and didn't put up the big numbers or play as well in the following year or two.
Remember Terrell Suggs and Haloti Ngata?
It can happen to anybody. It can happen to Flacco. It's something to keep an eye on.
Ok, yeah, I’ll be keeping my eye on that buddy. I’ll be keeping my other eye on writers who publish strangely contradictory articles about how it isn't time to worry about Joe Flacco and about all the reasons why he might not be performing quite as well as he is capable of...while at the same time claiming his performance is "concerning".