Former Delaware quarterback Joe Flacco hasn't wanted for talent during his three seasons with the Baltimore Ravens. He's led a run-heavy attack with decent receivers, showed off one of the better deep arms in the league, and developed a familiarity with play action and the shorter-to-intermediate passes that must be a part of every NFL quarterback's repertoire. He's one of the reasons the Ravens are considered to be a perennial Super Bowl contender … if they can just get past those pesky Steelers.
And as Jamison Hensley of the Baltimore Sun tells us, Flacco isn't lacking confidence, either. When asked on Wednesday about various potshots taken at his person (Steelers linebacker LaMarr Woodley saying that Flacco will never win a Super Bowl, Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Dhani Jones questioning his ability to handle pressure, and NFL Network … erm … 'analyst' Jamie Dukes saying that Flacco doesn't have the right work ethic), Flaco fired right back.
"I think I'm pretty damn good," Flacco told the media at team headquarters. To Woodley's claim, he says things are getting better — maybe this is the year the Ravens step all over the Steelers for that trip to the big game.
I really don't quite understand it. We've had a good team the last three years and I think I've gotten better each year and played pretty darn good. I really don't understand it. There's nothing you can do about it.
How about Jones' claim that he can't handle pressure of any kind?
I want the ball in my hands. I want to be in control. I want to be in position to lose football games. I want it to be on me. If we lose football games, I want you to be able to look directly at me and say, 'Why did we lose this game?' and I should have a pretty good answer for you. And I want you to be able to look at me and say why did we win this game? In order to do that, you have to have trust in me, and I think we're there.
And Dukes' seemingly meritless assertion (if there's one thing about Flacco I've never heard questioned, it's his work ethic)?
What motivates me is being the best quarterback in the world. You don't play this game to be average. I play this game to be the best. It doesn't matter what other people say. I think I'm pretty damn good. I don't need to go out and tell everybody that and show it on every given Sunday. I go out there and I play. You can think what you want about me. The bottom line is: I'm going to feel pretty good about myself no matter what you say.
So there! You have to like a quarterback with a chip on his shoulder and the right kind of confidence, especially when he's improved in each of his three NFL seasons, in metrics both traditional and advanced. Something tells me that the Ravens are in very good hands when it comes to the quarterback position.