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Number-crunchers put Joe Flacco's inaccuracy into context

FootballPro FootballJoe FlaccoBaltimore RavensNFLBuffalo Bills

Most Ravens fans would probably tell you that they don't need to purchase the All-22 package on NFL's Game Rewind and dust off their old T-83 graphic calculator to determine that Joe Flacco was less accurate than usual in 2013. A simple eye test could tell you that.

But a couple of statistics highlighted in this recent post by the guys at Pro Football Focus, who account for dropped passes when computing a quarterback's accuracy percentage, help put Flacco's season into context. In short, Flacco was one of the NFL's least accurate passers, even on his signature deep throws.

Only Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker was more erratic when it came to throwing the deep ball in 2013, according to stats from Pro Football Focus. Locker was last in the league with a 23.3 percent accuracy percentage on passes thrown 20 or more yards downfield. Flacco was accurate on just 26.1 percent of his deep attempts after he was on the mark for 40.2 percent of his deep attempts in 2012.

Overall, Flacco was accurate on just 67.8 percent of his attempts, according to Pro Football Focus. Only five quarterbacks had a worse accuracy percentage, and they are not exactly the kind of passers Flacco should want to be associated with -- besides one notable exception.

Those five quarterbacks were Thaddeus Lewis of the Buffalo Bills, Case Keenum of the Houston Texans, Geno Smith of the New York Jets, Eli Manning of the New York Giants and Matt McGloin of the Oakland Raiders.

Manning is the one who stands out from that group of young passers, though his inclusion is not surprising, especially since he and Flacco have similar reputations and career arcs.

They played in similar offenses, too, which partially explains why they were on the lower end of the spectrum in accuracy percentage. They were both the centerpiece of a vertical passing attack that asked them to throw downfield often. And both of their offenses had offensive line issues and struggled to run the ball, complicating things for Flacco and Manning.

Flacco's accuracy percentage dipped 59 percent when he was under pressure and 10 of his career-high 22 interceptions came when he was pressured. But according to Pro Football Focus, Flacco was closer to the middle of the pack when it came to accuracy percentage when under pressure.

Flacco, who officially completed 59 percent of his attempts for 3,912 yards and 19 touchdowns, would be the first to admit that he wasn’t good enough -- or accurate enough -- in 2013.

But the Ravens can help him get back on track in 2014 by improving his supporting cast, something they seem committed to doing. They have identified the offensive line as one of their biggest priorities this offseason and they met with several wide receivers and tight end prospects at the scouting combine over the weekend. Keeping free-agent tight end Dennis Pitta would also be beneficial.

Ultimately, though, it will be on Flacco to put the ball on his receivers more often than he did in 2013.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go dust off my TI-83 and play Pacman for the next few hours.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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FootballPro FootballJoe FlaccoBaltimore RavensNFLBuffalo Bills
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