Preseason hasn't been a good start for Joe Flacco

It isn't time to worry yet, but at least keep an eye on the situation.

What is up with Joe Flacco?

It has only been two preseason games, but so far all we've seen is the average Flacco that played for most of the 2012 regular season, and that is concerning.

If this was Joe Montana or John Elway, there would be no interest or intrigue. But Flacco's entire body of work throughout his five-year career hasn't been the model of consistency.

Even though he signed a $120.6 million contract in March, one of the big questions surrounding the Ravens was if Flacco just hit another hot streak in the postseason, or had he hit the high level of consistency which put him on the brink of greatness?

For the first two weeks of training camp, he was a new Joe, more animated and colorful, yet relaxed as he mingled more with teammates on the sideline. He showed touch on the short and intermediate passes and seemed more comfortable in the offense than ever before.

But in the last two weeks of practice, he has been inaccurate. It has continued in the two preseason games where Flacco has completed 14 of 18 passes, but a lot of those haven't been on target. He has thrown two interceptions, and they were terrible, one a floater that Flacco hung up on the right sideline against Tampa Bay, and the other in Atlanta where the Falcons seemed more like the intended receivers than Jacoby Jones.

"I threw it into a bee's nest. I thought Jacoby might be able to get around the Sam linebacker, so I kind of threw it off of his shoulder, but Jacoby was just getting behind there, so I threw it into too many people," said Flacco of his pass which eventually became a 2-yard Atlanta touchdown in the second quarter. "The [defensive back] that was behind Jacoby that was breaking on the play, it hit him in the thigh and sent the ball up in the air."

That's been the problem with a lot of Flacco passes this preseason. He threw behind tight end Visanthe Shiancoe twice Thursday night and has been high on several passes including one in the right flat that almost got running back Damien Berry decapitated against Atlanta.

Last year, especially in the crunch, receiver Anquan Boldin would have snatched those out of the air, but Boldin is in San Francisco now. Flacco can't pitch like he is throwing to Yao Ming anymore.

He isn't the only offensive player who is struggling. In fact, right now the Ravens have no rhythm. They can't pass and they can't run. They can't stay on the field because the first offense has only six first downs in three quarters of play.

It's been ugly.

"Everything we do, we always look at as very important," Flacco said. "We're going to go back out there and put a lot of good work in. That's what we're going to do, and it's going to go well. That's how we're used to doing it. Having said that, we're not going to overreact to something like this and get all crazy and things like that.

"We'll get through this. We feel like we've had a great camp, and we're continuing to get better. This is one of those things we'll have to look at and make sure we improve on."

The Ravens have some excuses. They haven't had their best offensive lineman, guard Marshal Yanda, yet because of offseason shoulder surgery and they just got receiver Brandon Stokley, and tight end Dallas Clark this week. But they might also want to ask Flacco about his problems lately.

We've heard about offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie and Courtney Upshaw being overweight and John Harbaugh talked about the Ravens having to address the No. 2 and No. 3 receiver positions.

But what is up with Flacco? Is he bored? Is his arm tired? Are these timing issues?

Whenever the experts talk about the Ravens, it's like Flacco is beyond reproach because of the new contract. But right now, his game is a little off for whatever reason.

There are some people in this town ready to panic, and no one should be at that point. There isn't even any need for heavy breathing. But there have been cases before where a player signed a big contract, and didn't put up the big numbers or play as well in the following year or two.

Remember Terrell Suggs and Haloti Ngata?

It can happen to anybody. It can happen to Flacco. It's something to keep an eye on.

mike.preston@baltsun.com

 
Talk about it
Join other sports fans on our Ravens message board SUBSCRIBE TO THIS FEED

PHOTO GALLERIES

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Google Plus
  • RSS Feeds
  • Mobile Alerts and Apps

RAVENS & FOOTBALL VIDEOS

SPORTS PICTURES

Orioles in March and April 2014 [Pictures]

Orioles in April

Welcome to The Baltimore Sun's Ravens game story database. Use the search prompts below for access to Baltimore Sun stories for every game in Ravens history.