The Ravens are six games away from completing the 2012 regular season, and they are approaching the time when a team might consider signing its franchise quarterback to a contract extension.
So far, it hasn't happened for quarterback Joe Flacco and you have to wonder what front office members of the Ravens might be thinking.
If this season is Flacco's final case to show he deserves to be one of the highest paid quarterbacks in the NFL, then he might have raised some doubt.
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In home games this season Flacco has completed 115 of 173 passes for 1,612 yards, 10 touchdowns and completed 29 passes for 20 yards or more.
On the road, he has completed 91 of 168 passes for 883 yards, three touchdowns and had only 11 passes of 20 yards or more. Against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday night, Flacco became a game manager again instead of taking control of the game.
He became erratic after being hit early and didn't make a big play . During the contest, you can see the frustration and doubt about another poor performance on the road.
The question is do you pay him the same money this season as New Orleans' Drew Brees ($20 million), Denver's Peyton Manning ($19.2 million), New England's Tom Brady ($18 million) and New York's Eli Manning ($16.25 million), or put him in the second tier with Philadelphia's Michael Vick ($16 million), Houston's Matt Schaub ($15.5 million), San Diego's Philip Rivers ($15.3 million), Chicago's Jay Cutler ($14.9 million) and Ben Roethlisberger ($14.6 million)?
The second tier seems more appropriate. Flacco, whose contract expires at the end of this season, can probably get a team to overpay in the free agent market. His agent will point out that he has led the team to the playoffs for four straight seasons, and there could be a fifth.
But the Ravens have to be careful. Hopefully, they can get a market deal done before this season is over.
"Joe and I have a very good understanding of his situation," said Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome of Flacco, who will make $6.76 million this season. "We are on the same page as far as his contract negotiations."
Ravens show vanilla offense in Pittsburgh
It is great that the Ravens are 8-2, but behind closed doors over at The Castle they can't be happy with an offense that was shutout against the Steelers.
Also, if you're going to split Rice outside as a receiver in third-and-short situations, how about keeping a runner (Pierce) in the backfield to at least have a threat of possibly running the ball?
Cornerbacks play without fear
They physically jammed, tugged, pushed and pulled on Steelers receivers at the line of scrimmage and turned and ran with them. That didn't happen until Graham got onto the field a couple of weeks ago.
"I thought the DB's played really well," Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said. "The corners played really well led by Cary Williams. Corey Graham came up big."
An unsung hero in the improved play of the cornerbacks has been Ravens receiver Anquan Boldin. Against Dallas and again Sunday night, he has helped the corners by telling them the routs some of the receivers would run against them.