Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco has been with the organization for nine seasons and the team has seen a lot more good with him than bad. The Ravens have had a .500 record or better in every season that Flacco has started all 16 regular season games. At worst, Flacco has the Ravens fighting for a playoff spot in the last two weeks of the regular season.
Flacco is a Super Bowl champion, a Super Bowl MVP and 10th all-time in NFL playoff history in touchdown passes with 25. With 15 playoff games under his belt, Flacco has a passer rating of 88.6 which is higher than quarterbacks such as Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Troy Aikman, Brett Favre, Ben Roethlisberger, Jim Kelly, Steve Young and Warren Moon.
Flacco has had a lot of success in his career contrary to popular belief. So with all of this being said, why is it still a question mark as to how much input Flacco has in the Ravens offense? He is one of the highest paid players in NFL history and it doesn’t look like the Ravens allow him to have the freedom to call plays at the line of scrimmage.
We can talk about the long list of offensive coordinators the Ravens have had over the last nine seasons from Cam Cameron, Jim Caldwell, Gary Kubiak, Marc Trestman and Marty Mornhinweg. Flacco had his best seasons under Caldwell (playoff run in 2012) and Kubiak during the 2014 season. Is it a coincidence that Caldwell and Kubiak went on to become head coaches and the other three have not at this point? No, I don’t think so.
Flacco isn’t dumb. I don’t think his knowledge of the game is a problem. I think the problem is that the Ravens tend to hire offensive coordinators who see the game a bit diffrently than Flacco and coordinators like Cameron, Trestman and Mornhinweg seem to be unable to adapt to Flacco’s strengths. These three coordinators seem to take a, “my way or the highway” approach and it has led to a lot of inconsistencies on the field. Ravens right guard Marshal Yanda alluded to something interesting on Monday as it relates to who calls the shots on offense.
“It would be nice to run the ball more, but in the end, I found out with that over the years that’s Marty’s call. That’s John’s [Harbaugh] call,” Yanda said via BaltimoreRavens.com. “What helps is that you’re locked in to run the play that’s called, because that’s my job. That’s Marty’s job to call the plays. That’s John’s job. Let them do their job and we’ll do ours.”
Interesting that Yanda didn’t mention Flacco in that statement when Flacco is the quarterback who is on the field and is seeing what the defense is doing right in front of his face. If Flacco is restricted like this, why bother paying him the money the Ravens have been paying him over the last four seasons? I’m not saying that Flacco shouldn’t listen to the coaches, but at the same time the investment the Ravens have made on Flacco warrants more freedom for him.
I always wonder why when the Ravens go to a no huddle, the offense looks efficient but for some reason the offense goes away from that and the unit begins to struggle. Flacco honestly looks more in control when he runs the no huddle. He doesn’t look to be in control as much outside of that.
Now, I’m not saying that Flacco doesn’t share some blame for the offensive struggles he obviously does and looking for tight end Dennis Pitta on almost every passing play doesn’t help either. But at the same time, the Ravens coaching staff has failed to make sure that their franchise quarterback is comfortable.
This offense doesn’t understand the concept that if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. If the no huddle offense is working, continue to run the no huddle. If the running game is working, don’t abandon the running game. Flacco, from the outside looking in, looks like a quarterback who is handcuffed a lot.