It was a simple mistake made in a passing drill by an undrafted rookie, but Joe Flacco wanted to make sure that it was corrected immediately.
So when Rashaad Carter got out of his break too late, causing Flacco's pass to hit the ground, the quarterback quickly reminded the rookie that he had run the wrong route.
"I'm always a leader. I'm not going to really change my role," Flacco said. "We don't have Ray Lewis here anymore. … Me and him are probably different in terms of how we lead anyway. I'm not going to change what I do at all because I make more money. That has nothing to do with leading a football team. I'm going to go out there and play well and lead by example, and I'm going to have fun with my guys. I'm going to get them to trust me and we're going to be a good football team because of it."
This week marks the start of Flacco's sixth training camp in the NFL, but as he was reminded often during his post-practice interview with reporters Tuesday, it's his first since becoming a Super Bowl Most Valuable Player and the highest-paid Raven in team history.
The new set of circumstances elicited little more than a shrug from Flacco, who insists that in his mind, not a whole lot has changed as he prepares for the 2013 season. He's also either immune or indifferent to any changes in the level of pressure and expectation on the Super Bowl XLVII champions and their $120.6million quarterback.
"I don't think it really matters either way. All we can do is go out there and keep winning, just like we have every year we've been here, and not really worry about what people say and what our expectations are and what the pressure is going to be," Flacco said. "Who really cares? I can't really complain at this point. We won last year, I have a lot of money — or I'm going to get a lot of money — and we're going to win football games. That's the way it is around here. That's what we're going to get used to, and that's what we want to be used to, is winning football games.
"We're not going to apologize for acting like we're a good football team. Yeah, our expectations are high and we don't care if that comes with pressure or not pressure, whatever it is. We expect to win."
The Ravens will have their first full-squad practice of training camp Thursday. Tuesday's and today's practices were designed primarily to help the rookies get acclimated to the structure of the workouts so they are not left behind when the veterans report.
However, Flacco, 28, wasn't just going through the motions. He got up to the line of scrimmage and ran plays fast, spreading the ball around to several running backs, wide receivers and tight ends. When one of his deep throws landed about 10 yards beyond his intended wide receiver, he chastised himself loudly.
Having been around Flacco during the various offseason camps, Ravens coach John Harbaugh still sees a quarterback who is obsessed with improving in all facets.
"That's the factor that's relevant, is the fact that he continues to grow," Harbaugh said. "The [new] contract really doesn't have much to do with how hard you work as long as you continue to work, which he will and he has. He'll just continue to grow as a quarterback, and we sure hope he continues to get better. … [He] couldn't be much better than the last five outings that he played but overall, there are a number of things that he's working to improve on and Joe's determined. Joe looks very hard at all of this."
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