In a lot of ways Joe Flacco is the perfect quarterback for the Baltimore Ravens and in a lot of ways he reflects the overall identity of the team. He’s tough, he’s poised, he never rattles, he’s not flashy, he won’t put up video-game like numbers, he won’t make too many highlight reel plays to get on Sportscenter, but when game day rolls around he is all business and he is a winner. With a great defense and one of the better young running backs in the NFL, Flacco isn’t asked to and doesn’t have to do too much for the Ravens to win, but it’s not because he is incapable.
However, the Ravens and Flacco find themselves in a familiar position this year. With three games left in the regular season they once again have one of the best records in the NFL and yet it doesn’t seem like Flacco or the Ravens have been getting the kind of respect and attention around the league that they deserve. The top teams in the AFC better find a way to make the Ravens travel in the playoffs because if the road to the Super Bowl has to go through Baltimore then it’s going to be tough and physical. Just the way they like it.
Joe Flacco joined WNST in Baltimore with Monday Night Live to talk about fans reactions or overreactions to losses, on the idea that there are all of these hurdles he has to get over as a quarterback to earn respect, if he pays attention to what other QB’s around the NFL are doing, on him being the target of criticism this offseason for the Ravens loss in the playoffs and how he dealt with that, and whether or not he feels his leadership responsibilities have evolved as he has gotten more comfortable with the offense.
On fans reacting and sometimes overacting to wins and losses:
“Yeah it’s pretty hilarious. I mean everyone reacts week to week and I mean most people really have no idea what really went on in the game and how everybody played and what was supposed to be happening. I can look at an NFL game and say ‘hey this is what I thought should have happened’ but I can be way off base because I don’t know what they game planned for the week and things like that. It’s funny to see all these things. I mean look at Tim Tebow. I like Tim, but you have a tendency to want to, I don’t want to see Tim do bad, but look what happens after he wins a football game. If you watched Sportscenter today it was Tim Tebow then something else, Tim Tebow then something else, and Tim Tebow then something else. When we beat the Steelers were we on TV? No. I couldn’t even find a Baltimore Ravens highlight. I think that’s kinda the way it is around Baltimore. We don’t always get our respect but you gotta deal with it and go out there every week and just win football games.”
On the idea that there are hurdles that he needs to get past to gain peoples respect:
“It’s pretty funny. It really means nothing at the end of the day. We beat the Steelers. Just because Ben wasn’t playing doesn’t mean anything. All those games are just as important. To be honest with you, in the regular season since I’ve been here we’re .500 against those guys and if you were to ask people they would probably say we have just one win against them. It’s funny to hear that kind of thing. It just kinda goes with the territory. You just have to continue to take it, deal with it, and not really worry about it. As far as winning the big one we’ve won a lot of big games around here. The other thing is quarterbacks are not the only guy on the team to win football games. When we do win football games I don’t seem to think that a lot of people say ‘hey Joe Flacco won that football game.’ When we lose the football game that might be the case but obviously that’s not all reality. As a quarterback it’s your job to go in there and realize that and be the guy that goes out there and plays the same way every week and puts your team in position to win football games. That’s what I’ve been doing I think and that’s why we’re 10-3.”
Whether or not he pays attention to other QB’s around the league and what they are doing:
“I don’t necessarily pay attention and every week look at that and see that. I guess every now and then you do and just see kinda what they’re doing but I don’t watch the TV shows a lot. Like I said every now and then you see it and you hear it. You just do. You can’t help yourself a little bit.”
Whether or not he heard the criticism before the season started about him being the reason the Ravens didn’t have a better season:
“Last year we were a 12-4 football team. I mean we didn’t win the division because Pittsburgh had a tiebreaker and we won a playoff game. Yeah it’s not what everybody wants to hear and we didn’t win the Super Bowl but it was a pretty good year by our football team and I had a pretty good football season myself. You go home and all you want to do is not be criticized and it does seem like that. And hey my standpoint is I just think we’re disrespected as an organization when it comes to the media. We’re not a very big market, the bottom line is we don’t need a lot of help because we have a great fan-base every week and we win football games. We’re not a losing football team that needs to be out there in the media and be talked up like we are all-world. We are. We go out there and play and win football games. People usually look for a reason to put us down and where does that go to? It goes to the quarterback because we have a good defense. Teams want to see us run the ball and they want to see our defense win games. When we don’t do that and don’t win a football game where does the blame fall? Onto the quarterback. What are you gonna do? You’re the quarterback. You’re one of 32 guys that has the position that you have and it’s really not even that much because not everybody plays every week. Hey that’s why most of these guys, including myself get paid the way we do because we’re the guys that have to deal with it at the end of the day. When we don’t win they’re going to put it on us and that’s the bottom line.”
Whether or not he feels like his role in the offense has continued to eveolve:
“The biggest thing for me is just the fact that when you come in as a rookie you don’t know a lot of guys, you’re a little bit uncomfortable, and you’re put in the starting spot and you’re just trying to play well. As you’re around a team, as you’re around guys you become more and more comfortable in your own skin and you become more and more comfortable to voice your opinion. Now we have a lot of young guys on the team so you have to do that. Before we were a pretty veteran offense and a pretty veteran team and a lot of those guys have developed those skills ten plus years in the NFL. It’s not my job to come in here and tell them to change something or something like that but it is my job to kinda get these young guys up to speed and mold them into the kind of player that I want them to be and they want to be. I think I’m able to be more comfortable in my own skin and voice my opinion a little bit more.”