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It's too soon for Joe Flacco debates

Joe FlaccoFootballSuper BowlBaltimore RavensAtlanta FalconsDennis Pitta

Open question: Isn’t it just a little early to start wondering if Joe Flacco is going to have a post-contract letdown?

Maybe I turned on the radio at just the wrong moments, but I could swear that some sports talkshows were buzzing on Friday and Saturday about how Flacco just hasn’t seemed like himself during the first two preseason games. And, of course, the conversation couldn’t help but come around to the fact that he parlayed his Super Bowl MVP performance into that huge contract.

My Baltimore Sun colleague Mike Preston also addressed Flacco’s rocky performance against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Atlanta Falcons, wondering just why Joe Cool has looked less than elite in his three quarters of work. He cautioned against anyone pushing the panic button so soon, but did question Flacco’s accuracy both in the two games and during the last two weeks of practice.

He mentioned the contract, too, but only in passing and only to point out that Flacco wouldn’t be the first current Raven to struggle after signing a richnew contract, if indeed that is why he has not been particularly effective so far.

That’s possible, I guess, but it’s unlikely and it’s far too early in training camp to seriously consider.         

I’m sure there have been a few instances of players becoming less hungry after getting set up for life, but I’ll be shocked if Flacco becomes one of them. You don’t get where he is – and take the punishment he has taken to play every game for the past five years – just to get richer than you already are.

Flacco already was financially secure when he signed that $120 million deal. He has played hungry every day of his NFL career and I’m guessing he’s going to be just as hungry this year to prove that last year’s 11 TD, interceptionless performance in the postseason was not some trick of the light.

That said, if you’re going to judge him against that ridiculously high standard and consider anything less a sign of some defect of competitive character, well, that’s just silly.

If you’re wondering why the offense hasn’t clicked during his three quarters of early preseason action, there are all sorts of more logical reasons than the ludicrous notion that he doesn’t care as much because he has a Super Bowl ring and money he’ll never have enough time to spend.

The Ravens, you might have read, have a wide receiver problem, which might have something do to with the fact that Flacco hasn’t looked like he’s in a great rhythm throwing the football. They also need more time to get the offensive line in sync, which is why John Harbaugh kept the first-string O-line on the field longer than usual for a second preseason game.

Hmmm. The Ravens are missing the top two receivers from last year – departed Anquan Boldin and injured Dennis Pitta – and are thin enough at the receiving positions that they just signed a wideout and a tight end who are a combined 71 years old, and we’re wondering why the guy who won the Super Bowl MVP trophy in the last real game he played looks a little rusty.

You’d think people would have better things to worry about…like the Orioles bullpen situation.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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Joe FlaccoFootballSuper BowlBaltimore RavensAtlanta FalconsDennis Pitta
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