Ray Rice, Marshal Yanda and other players take off their uniforms and equipment as the minicamp wraps up. (Kenneth K. LAM, Baltimore Sun /June 19, 2014)
After getting sacked 19 times in the first eight contests, Joe Flacco has been taken down just five times in the last five games. Fifteen other quarterbacks have been sacked more than he has.
And no one is more grateful for the offensive line’s work in keeping him upright than the Ravens quarterback himself.
“Those guys are doing a really good job,” Flacco said Wednesday. “They’re really starting to work really well together. To be honest with you, teams haven’t really brought a lot of pressure on us other than their front four. Our guys have done a great job. Last week, we had two of the best guys in the game on the end, and our guys did a great job. [The Indianapolis Colts’ Dwight Freeney] got to me a couple times, but hey, sometimes you’ve just got to take those sacks and move on. Our guys did a great job all game, and I think we did a good job of taking advantage of them in other ways also.”
That doesn’t mean that Flacco hasn’t been under duress to throw the ball. According to NFL.com, Flacco has been hit 66 times this season. Only the St. Louis Rams’ Sam Bradford, the Cleveland Browns’ Colt McCoy, the Atlanta Falcons’ Matt Ryan and the San Francisco 49ers’ Alex Smith have been hit more often.
Now in his fourth year in the NFL, Flacco said he’s come to an understanding that sometimes enduring a sack is better than the alternative: turning the ball over.
“You don’t want to be back there taking sacks when you’ve got guys open downfield, but sometimes there is nothing down there, and it is at the point of the game where you can’t really do anything stupid,” he said. “So taking one here and there is not a bad thing. You find yourself running off the field sometimes, but it’s a lot better than having the defense run out onto the field and not the punt team. So there are times that it’s advantageous for us, as a team, to take those sacks. But like I said, you don’t want to get into a habit of doing that.”
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