2017 Grade: .355

2017 3rd Down: .000

Week 1 at Cincinnati: Baltimore did its best to hide Joe Flacco like the Jaguars did with Bortles. At one point in the third quarter, in a 17-point game, the Ravens ran the ball 12 consecutive plays. The big lead helped, but so did Flacco’s general ineffectiveness. He still has that gun-slinger mentality regardless of how far his accuracy has fallen off in recent years.

Week 2 vs. Cleveland: This was Joe Flacco’s most precise game since his dismantling of the Miami Dolphins last December. His normally shoddy mechanics against the blitz were better, his accuracy was on-point, and he made a number of good decisions/throws on third down. If he can follow that exact blue-print, with that defense, the Ravens are going to be a problem.

Week 3 at Jacksonville (LONDON:) Joe Flacco’s historically bad statistical day wasn’t as dreadful as the box score would lead you to believe. Pass protection and drops were an issue (Flacco’s first interception was a drop that led to a pick.) Still, Flacco’s lazy mechanics and questionable accuracy are a weekly thing.

Week 4 vs. Pittsburgh: Patience has to be wearing thin in Baltimore. The offense has been entirely swallowed up by a black hole and there’s no light at the end of the tunnel – and it starts with Flacco. The lazy mechanics are simply who he is at this point. He doesn’t seem to have any interest in trying to key the defense or go to his hot-reads. Watching him on tape, it looks like his mind is made up before he snaps the football. It leads to egregious interceptions and missed open targets, as seen below.

Week 5 at Oakland: This game was the blueprint John Harbaugh envisioned when the 2017 Ravens were assembled. Joe Flacco got help via a terrific performance from the defense and running game. Flacco was quick and concise, and hit the big play a number of times (including a three-point dime to Wallace – GIF below.) This was Flacco’s best game since he slaughtered the Dolphins last December.

Week 6 vs. Chicago: At least the Bears excuse for Trubisky is his limited experience. Joe Flacco has been in the league for 10 years and the Ravens have to protect him like a rookie. To be fair, the two interceptions he threw were fluke bounces, and while I have trashed Flacco before, his skill players let him down in this game. The GIF below, however, is a microcosm for Flacco’s general lack of interest since his Super Bowl season. He is two yards clear of the line of scrimmage and decides to throw the ball any way.

2016: The Gun-Shy Gunslinger

Money motivates most men and, while I have no idea what kind of guy Joe Flacco is, he probably isn’t any different – his NFL-career certainly suggests so. Flacco’s best-ball came during the playoffs following the 2012 season when he led the Ravens on a flawless post-season run and captured the organization’s second Lombardi Trophy. Flacco was promptly paid like a Super Bowl MVP and the Ravens attached him to the club’s starting-quarterback role for the foreseeable future.

Jump ahead five-years and Baltimore is currently rostering one of the worst quarterbacks in the league. His mechanics show no refinement to this meticulous craft and his decision-making barely supersedes those.

Flacco wasn’t alone in contributing to the 21st ranked scoring offense in football. The perimeter-players offer little versatility and even less separation. The running game was non-existent all year, directly prohibiting Flacco’s single greatest attribute, play-action passing. I lost count of how many times there appeared to be a miscommunication on a route as the ball sailed one direction while the receiver ran the other.

Flacco’s play was reminiscent of a rookie in that he’s quick to search for his security blanket or check-down. There are times where he is presented ample-time to scan the field from the pocket and dumps it to Kyle Juszczyk, Terrance West or one of the tight-ends instead of shooting in open 20 yard in-breaking route.

As egregious as some of his interceptions are, he does show a penchant for protecting the ball both with safe-throws as well as securing it in traffic.

The most successful plays in the Baltimore offense are when the receiver sits his route down. Moving targets are often too much to ask as there aren’t more than a couple of quarterbacks, if any, in the league that are more sporadic with ball-placement.

This is the result of Flacco’s shoddy-mechanics. He’s often bouncing around rather than planting and driving, he throws up more fade-aways than Larry Bird and his arm-angle falls into all kinds of unorthodox positions.

The offense wants to be a between-the-numbers, play-action controlled offense with built-in shots, but Flacco limits this plan.

For a gun-slinger, Flacco’s mentality is strange. He often passes up downfield targets in-lieu of the easier throw but there are occasions where he forces throws down the field – particularly when he has one-on-one coverage on the boundary.

Poor ball placement, lazy mechanics, missed reads all over the field, no threat to cover up offensive line deficiencies, the Ravens need to consider another option under-center.

Stat Sheet

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