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Joe Flacco a 'Tier 7' QB? To Some, Yes

This grinds my gears to no end.

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Offseason lists are (for the most part), awful, and click bait. This 'list' is a prime example of that.

Wow. What a 'list' indeed, I don't normally get mad about football, but this is ridiculous. In case you missed it, our beloved QB is ranked below Geno Smith. According to Fahey, Sam Bradford, Jameis Winston, and Marcus Mariota all play above/at the same level as Flacco. Per his rankings, Flacco is projected to be the 21st best QB this season.

Not to mention, several other sketchy entries across this 'list' too. Like Peyton Manning at 'Tier 5', or Tom Brady at 'Tier 4'. Where's the respect for two of the best in the game?

This 'list' has Ravens fans, and even non-Ravens fans abuzz on sites like Twitter and Reddit, and with good reason too. My number one rule is if you're going to say something, it better be true, and the numbers better back it up. Researching your subject is key, and numbers normally don't lie, people do.

So what's Fahey's reasoning for Flacco's low ranking? "Accuracy was really bad in 2014, decision making was worse in QB-friendly O."

Oh boy. I hope you all like extra salt on that popcorn, because I am very 'salty' indeed.

I'm not here to say that Flacco is 'elite', and if you've read my writing before, you'd know I don't think he is. But this is the kind of stuff that makes Ravens fans so defensive of Joe. You're going to receive a lot of hate when you lump one the greatest playoff QBs ever alongside two overhyped rookies who have never played a NFL snap.

Anyways, back to the numbers.

"Accuracy was really bad in 2014"

Well Cian, it really wasn't. Take a look at this table. (per Pro Football Reference)

If you'll notice Flacco's accuracy wasn't really that bad. 22nd isn't great, but it's respectable and if you only compare quarterbacks that played a majority of their games (12+), Flacco comes out at around 18th. If you look at the actual percentages, the difference isn't that great between Joe and the rest. Keep in mind as well that there are multiple QBs on this list who didn't start a whole season, which affect the stats. (Davis, Sanchez, and Hill, among others)

My favorite part of the whole thing is that four QBs who were ranked above Flacco had a worse completion percentage. Stafford, Luck, Newton, and Smith all did worse.

I'd also like to point out that completion percentage isn't exactly the best indicator of 'accuracy'. It doesn't take into account those times when Flacco smartly threw it away to save a sack, or the fact that he had the most yards lost due to dropped passes last season, at 472 yards, 82 yards more than second place. The stat also negatively impacts 'gunslingers', who aren't afraid to 'thread the needle', instead of throwing it short to play safe.

I think the best measure of accuracy is making those clutch throws with little or no room for the receiver to catch it. You can't make that a stat, but it happens every game, and Flacco does it with as much skill as the 'elites'. Can the better and superior 'fifth tier' Geno Smith do that? Most of time, no.

Moving on, Fahey's second argument is:

"decision making is worse in QB-friendly O"

Back to PFR we go.....

Well look at this, once again Fahey over exaggerated Flacco's flaws. He's right in the middle of the pack for interceptions, with names that Fahey praised. When you look at the INT%, Flacco comes in well ahead of guys like Peyton Manning, Andrew Luck, Cam Newton, and Drew Brees, all while being right behind Tono Romo.

Per Fahey's Twitter page, his main reason for putting Flacco so low was some statistic called 'INTABLE Passes'.

Basically, from my understanding, it's not just interceptions, but passes that could've been potentially picked off, like tipped at the LOS, for example. To me, it doesn't make much sense, doesn't any pass thrown have the potential to be picked off somehow? Also, tipped passes are not an interception and any look at interceptable passes is really just an exercise in throwing out opinion.

Anyways, here's the chart Lahley provided via Twitter.

The funny thing is that once again, Flacco really wasn't that bad. He was above Newton, and only a few points below Brady & Brees.

This isn't a perfect statistic either, as the chart would have you believe that Alex Smith was elite and never ever could possibly make a bad decision. Wrong. Of Smith’s 464 attempts last year, 140 were either screens or throwaways. This massively skews the stats in his favor.

I'm honestly pretty tired of defending Flacco from writers and journalists who think he's an easy target. Flacco never puts up attractive stats, has a personality that differs from the status quo, and isn't on a very popular mainstream team. Yet he will quietly continue to be one of the best in the league, despite all of the criticism from guys like Fahey.

At the end of the day, I'll take a Super Bowl trophy, a Super Bowl MVP award, and one of the best postseasons in the history of football against 5,000 yards and watching other teams come January.

Keep doing your thing Joe.