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Tag:Joe Flacco
Posted on: February 16, 2012 10:22 am
Edited on: February 16, 2012 11:23 am
 

Agent: Flacco is 'in the top five' for QB money

Maybe Flacco should just get Brady's contract? (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

On Tuesday we mentioned that Joe Flacco's camp and the Ravens might start talking about a new contract next week at the 2012 NFL Combine. We also discussed where Flacco fits in terms of the financial quarterback hierarchy, noting that surely he deserves to be paid more than Matt Cassel, Kevin Kolb or Ryan Fitzpatrick, $60-million men in their own right.

Apparently, we badly undershot the expectations of Flacco's camp -- Flacco's agent Joe Linta told Matt Vensel of the Baltimore Sun that the Ravens quarterback needs to get the same kind of money that a top-five quarterback would expect.

"If the game is about wins and losses, he has to be in the top five [quarterbacks],” Linta said. “He is a player who has been extremely durable, never missed a game. And he’s done something that no one has ever done. In his four years in the league, he has never missed a game and has more wins than any other quarterback."

Now, the reaction to this "WHAT?" That's understandable, because Flacco, frankly, isn't a top-five quarterback in the NFL. He's probably (definitely?) not a top-ten quarterback either. (If we were picking quarterbacks to start a team looking to win both now and in the future, we'd take Flacco 15th.)

But Linta phrased this perfectly. If the game is about wins and losses, then, yes, Flacco is a top-five quarterback. Only Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Alex Smith won more games in 2011. And Flacco's won a lot of playoff games and showed that he can perform under pressure in 2011, even if his overall game took a step back.

But Flacco doesn't win those games by himself. The Ravens ranking No. 3 in overall defense in 2011 helped somewhat. As did Ray Rice and Ricky Williams rumbling Baltimore to a top-10 ranking in rushing yards.

The "quarterback wins" argument is a tired one, in our opinion, but one that still holds water, especially when negotiating a contract. But that being said, if Linta can parlay Flacco's NFL career into "top-five money," he'll be the big winner, since every single NFL player should hire him to negotiate their deals.

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Posted on: February 14, 2012 2:32 pm
Edited on: February 14, 2012 3:03 pm
 

Report: Ravens, Flacco to talk contract next week

Baltimore regards Flacco as the future of the franchise, apparently. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

When we ran down possible destinations for Peyton Manning in 2012, we left the Ravens off the list because they already have, in theory, a franchise quarterback in Joe Flacco. Many folks would disagree. But, apparently, not the Ravens.

According to Jason LaCanfora of the NFL Network, the Ravens and Flacco's agent, Joe Linta, will sit down in Indianapolis at the 2012 NFL Combine to talk about getting Flacco a new, long-term contract.

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LaCanfora writes that the Ravens are "committed to keeping the 2008 first-round pick." There's no secret that Flacco wants to get paid: Flacco said during the regular season that he deserved a new contract with the Ravens based on his performance.

"It is what it is," Flacco said at the time. "It's either going to happen at some point or it's not. The bottom line is I'm not too worried about it either way. Do I feel like I deserve one? Yeah. Do I feel like I'm going to get one? Yeah. If I don't get one, is it going to be a huge deal? No, it is what it is. It's not really up to me. It's up to me to go out there and focus on my play each and every game and put our team in the best spot to win a football game."

This is a mantra Flacco's repeated for some time now; that the Ravens are finally willing to talk turkey means that either they were a) as impressed with Flacco's playoff performance as our own Clark Judge was; or b) they understand that the "known" of Flacco is better than the "unknown."

The unknown being, of course, whoever else might be out there in free agency or the draft after the 2012 season. (If they tried to franchise him after the coming season, there would be some evil laughter and giddy fu-manchu rubbing as Flacco sprinted to sign that guaranteed contract.)

Based on what John Harbaugh's said before, it sounds like their answer is (a).

"I've said it many times," Harbaugh said. "I think his best football is in front of him. He only gets better. He's our kind of guy. He's a tough guy. He's a competitive guy. He's a leader. And I just can't wait to see where this thing goes with him. We are proud to have him as our quarterback."

So the question then becomes: how much is Flacco worth? Kevin Kolb and Matt Cassel both got contracts that paid them more than $60 million, with $20 million and $28 million guaranteed, respectively. (Kolb signed a five-year extension, while Cassel signed a six-year deal.)

There's no way Baltimore can get away with paying Flacco less than those guys. He's 44-20 in his career, he's started every single game since his rookie season, he's got a completion percentage over 60, he's got 11 game-winning drives and an 80:46 touchdown record.

He's also won five playoff games in four years and was one Lee Evans drop (or one accurate deep ball to Torrey Smith, if you prefer) away from taking the Ravens to the Super Bowl last year. He outplayed Tom Brady in the AFC Championship Game.

Kolb's never played more than nine games in a season (!), or thrown for more than 2,000 yards. Flacco's average season with Baltimore dwarfs Cassel's average season with New England and Kansas City.

So unless he's taking a serious hometown discount, Flacco's going to get north of $10 million a year and $30 million in guaranteed money. That's a lot of cheese. It's going to be extremely interesting to see how Cam Cameron and Jim Caldwell can help Flacco grow over the next few years.

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Posted on: January 30, 2012 10:00 am
Edited on: January 30, 2012 3:51 pm
 

Ravens hire Jim Caldwell as quarterbacks coach

By Will Brinson

Because Mike Tomlin and Jim Caldwell worked together under Tony Dungy in Tampa Bay, the prevailing theory's been that Caldwell's going to end up on the Steelers offensive staff. So it's pretty bizarre to hear that the Ravens hired Caldwell as their quarterbacks coach.

The team announced the news, as first reported by Adam Schefter of ESPN, on Monday afternoon.

"I am really excited to work with coach Harbaugh, Cam and the rest of the coaching staff," Caldwell said. "It's a great fit for me, and I'm happy they saw it that way. I can't wait to get started with the Ravens, an organization that from top to bottom is one of the NFL's best."

Ravens offensive coordinator Cam Cameron took over as quarterbacks coach this past season with the departure of Jim Zorn but when Cameron was extended last week, the Ravens made it known that he wouldn't continue on as quarterbacks coach.

Caldwell, who served as the Colts quarterbacks coach prior to becoming head coach, was 26-22 as Colts coach but saw his stock drop when the team went 2-14 in 2011. He now puts himself in a position to really get some positive reviews, should Joe Flacco make big steps forward in 2012.

"After spending considerable time with Jim over the last week, we think he will be an excellent fit with our team, coaching the quarterbacks and helping with our offense," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "We believe he enhances our staff. Jim has a tremendous history coaching at the college and pro level, especially working with quarterbacks and providing help with offenses.

"The timing is right to add a quarterbacks coach after Cam and Joe worked so closely and well together this year. It's the right step for us now."

Unless, of course, hiring Caldwell is just a ploy to land Peyton Manning if/when/should he be healthy enough to play next year. That seems like a stretch, but we talked about this with Andy Benoit on a recent Pick-Six Podcast: Flacco's only got one year left on his deal and the Ravens are quite conceivably the perfect team for Manning.

They've got a veteran defense with a small window remaining, talent on the offensive line and plenty of offensive weapons in Ray Rice, Torrey Smith, Anquan Boldin and the Dennis Pitta/Ed Dickson combo.

That being said, they're probably just trying to land a quarterbacks coach who can offer Flacco the sage wisdom necessary to grow into a talented quarterback at the next level.

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Posted on: January 27, 2012 12:00 pm
 

Pees promoted by Ravens, Cameron gets extension

Dean Pees and Cam Cameron will coordinate Baltimore in 2012. (US Presswire)
By Will Brinson

The Ravens suffered a big loss when defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano left the team to take the Colts head coaching position, but they didn't waste any time filling the role as John Harbaugh announced on Friday that linebackers coach Dean Pees would replace Pagano as defensive coordinator. Harbaugh also announced that much-maligned offensive coordinator Cam Cameron would stay with the team and receive an extension.

As we've previously noted, defensive coaches promoted by the Ravens tend to do OK later in life: four of their five defensive coordinators (with the exception of just Greg Mattison) have gone on to head-coaching jobs.

"It’s an incredible opportunity to be a defensive coordinator for anybody in this league, but it’s especially humbling to be one for the Ravens,” Pees said Friday. “I’m not going to be the same as Chuck Pagano. You got to be who you are."

Cameron's situation is a more surprising. The Ravens ranked 12th in points scored in the NFL in 2011 and 15th in yards. They finished 10th in rushing yards in 2011 but only 19th in passing yards. That's not necessarily a bad thing, though, especially considering how run-heavy their offense was at times.

Bigger concerns involve the play-calling, which was odd at times during the season, to say the least. But Harbaugh likes what he saw apparently.

"Cam has been our offensive coordinator, will continue to be our offensive coordinator," Harbaugh said Friday. "I think our coaches did a tremendous job this year."

The truth is the Ravens were just one Lee Evans foot (on a great throw by Joe Flacco) away from the Super Bowl. If Evans taps his toe before the ball's knocked out of his hands, we're not even having this conversation yet.

Harbaugh didn't provide any specifics about the nature of Cameron's extension on Friday. And he doesn't really need to unless it's a blockbuster of some sorts: Cameron will likely remain under scrutiny in 2011. Just like Flacco.

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Posted on: January 26, 2012 5:14 pm
 

Looks like Cam Cameron will return to Ravens

CameronBy Josh Katzowitz

If a Ravens fan happened to be informed that one of the team’s coordinators would be fired from Baltimore before next season, that fan probably would have begun to rejoice that offensive coordinator Cam Cameron finally would move on somewhere else.

Unfortunately for those fans who wish Cameron would pack his belongings and go, the assistant coach to leave is defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano, who was hired Wednesday to take over in Indianapolis. Even worse news for those Ravens fans: despite reports that John Harbaugh might replace Cameron, the Baltimore Sun says the opposite is true.

Apparently, Cameron has begun calling his offensive assistants to give them their instructions for the next several weeks, most likely a sign that Cameron isn’t going anywhere.

Writes columnist Mike Preston: “Neither Cameron nor Ravens head coach John Harbaugh returned phone calls Wednesday night, but the source was confident that Cameron would serve in the same capacity with the only stipulation the Ravens hire a quarterbacks coach. Cameron served in both roles last season.”

NFL film-watching guru Greg Cosell recently said that the Ravens look like an offense imported from the 1960s and that their receiving corps was the worst in the league at getting open vs. man coverage.

"They don't do a lot to help their receivers win versus man," Cosell said. "I'm not going to defend [Joe] Flacco, but I think it's very difficult to … it seemed that last week [against the Houston Texans] the route tree was a go route and a screen. … Every play, there was one receiver to the right, and one receiver to the left, often two backs or two tight ends, and that was every play, it seemed."

While the Ravens defense was the biggest reason Baltimore earned a No. 2 seed in the AFC playoffs this season, the offense was a little better than you might think. According to Football Outsiders, the Ravens were the 13th-most efficient offense in the league, and behind Ray Rice and Vonta Leach, Baltimore was the 10th-best running team.

But Cameron’s play-calling came under fire when he repeatedly overused the passing game, especially when the fourth quarter was winding down and the Ravens were leading a ballgame.

It even led Ray Rice to say this midway through the season: "I'm never going to be the guy that talks about touches, but obviously we know five carries is not going to cut it. I know five carries is not going to do us any justice, but we found ourselves so deep in the situation that we had to climb our way out. We were looking for answers. Whether it was running or passing, we have to find our way out of a situation."

Still, the passing game under Flacco suffered (19th in the NFL), and there was said to be tension between the quarterback and the offensive coordinator. Which means 2012 could be awfully interesting. And for some Ravens fans, possibly infuriating.

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Posted on: January 25, 2012 10:05 pm
 

Video: Ray Lewis' inspirational post-game speech

Lewis put Baltimore's playoff loss to New England in perspective. (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

Sometimes it's easy to forget that football really is nothing more than a bunch of guys in costumes playing a game. It's not life or death or the end-all be-all, even if a subset fans prefer to live that reality. Last Sunday, for the second time in four years, the Ravens lost in the AFC Championship game, and it happened in heartbreaking fashion. With seconds remaining, Lee Evans dropped a perfect throw from Joe Flacco for what would've been the go-ahead touchdown.

And then a harried Billy Cundiff pull-hooked a gimme 32-yard field goal after inexplicably losing track of the game situation. It was an improbable chain of events that had to be particularly hard to swallow for veterans like Ed Reed and Ray Lewis, players who very well may have retired had the Ravens won the Super Bowl.

Afterwards, Lewis, who has been this team's leader since he was drafted in 1996, didn't bemoan his fate or call out his underperforming teammates. Instead, he came to their defense during his postgame interview. And before that, but shortly after the season's outcome had been decided, he gave an impassioned speech that helped put things in perspective.


Cundiff later told the media that “You know that Ray Lewis has poured his heart out, and you don’t know how many years he has left. To let him down is pretty tough.”

Lewis might've been let down but he sounds like he's at peace with whatever life may bring. There's a lesson in there somewhere for these folks.

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Posted on: January 24, 2012 10:25 pm
 

Pollard hopes NYG 'put thrashing on Patriots'

B. Pollard tackles R. Gronkowski (US Presswire).By Josh Katzowitz

If Bernard Pollard wanted to ingratiate himself to the Patriots fanbase -- and really, why on earth would he want to do that? -- he’s going about it the wrong way.

While he was interviewed by KILT radio in Houston (via sportsradiointerviews.com), Pollard was asked his opinion about the Super Bowl XLVI matchup between the Patriots and the Giants.

“I really hope the Giants -- I just hope they just put a thrashing on the Patriots,” Pollard said. “I really do. To lose to a team like that the way we played. We played a good game.”

While it’s true that the Ravens played better than expected -- especially quarterback Joe Flacco -- and the Patriots (especially quarterback Tom Brady) didn’t play quite as well as we would have thought, the simple fact of the matter is … well, Pollard will be watching the game on TV. Because sometimes the team that plays better loses the game anyway.

But he makes a good point about the Super Bowl when he said this, “You gotta look at the experience of the team. What do the Giants have? They got a front four that is relentless. They got a secondary that is really, really good. They got a linebacking core that has been with them. The (Patriots) dinking and the dunking, man? It’s just not going to happen. They are going to have to take shots down the field. I think the Giants watch our film and watch the film of the season. They gotta take away their big time players. [Rob] Gronkowski I think he is coming off that ankle, so I don’t know if he will be 100 percent.”

Chances are, Gronkowski won’t be 100 percent. Even though he’s set to play in Indianapolis, the Boston Herald reported today that Gronkowski sustained ligament damage when Pollard tackled him in the third quarter of the AFC title game.

Speaking of Gronkowski and Pollard, what does Pollard think about adding to his reputation as a Patriots killer (first Brady, then Wes Welker and now, Gronkowski)?

“Oh man, that is fine and dandy,” Pollard said. “It is part of the game and this is what happens. If you don’t like it? So what. I am going to go out there and I am going to play me.”

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Posted on: January 22, 2012 6:40 pm
Edited on: January 22, 2012 7:18 pm
 

Patriots find way to win despite bad Brady effort

Brady owes his teammates a big hug after the AFC Championship Game. (AP)
By Will Brinson

In the weirdest twist of events imaginable, Joe Flacco was great against the Patriots, Tom Brady was terrible against the Ravens, and New England still found a way to win the AFC Championship Game 23-20 on Sunday.

Brady's final statline -- 22 of 36 for 239 yards, zero touchdowns and two interceptions -- is the opposite of what you'd expect in a Pats victory, and that New England still won despite Brady should be terrifying for the Ravens.

"Well, I sucked pretty bad today but our defense saved us," Brady told CBS Sports Jim Nantz after the game. "I'm going to try and go out and do a better job in a couple weeks."

Both the Giants and the 49ers represent a similar issue for the Patriots as the Ravens: talented, pass-rushing defenses that can stymie any offense.

But Brady's got two weeks to prepare, Rob Gronkowski's got two weeks to heal, and Bill Belichick's got two weeks to gameplan. That's why New England will be the favorite regardless of who comes to Indianapolis from the NFC end of things.


It's also a testament to what the Patriots do best, which is -- somehow -- find unlikely, creative ways to win. Sterling Moore, who was cut from the Raiders practice squad in September, made two of the biggest plays of the game, knocking a would-be, go-ahead touchdown pass from Lee Evans hands and swatting a pass on the next play that forced the missed Billy Cundiff field goal with 15 seconds left.

Vince Wilfork was a monster all day and Brandon Spikes, rounding into form after dealing with injuries all season, made a critical interception of Joe Flacco just when the Ravens were starting to roll.

No, the Patriots defense wasn't "great" or even "good," but they found a way to limit the Ravens rushing attack (Ray Rice had just 67 yards on 21 carries) and make plays when they needed to.

Sixty more minutes of that, and they could find themselves holding another Lombardi Trophy. And the next time around, there's a pretty good chance that they don't end up having to save bad Brady's bacon.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com