His performance has regressed this year, struggling mightily as he ranks 14th in passing yards, 19th in touchdown passes, 26th in completion percentage, 27th in yards per attempt and 15th in yards per game. He's been sacked 33 times, fourth-most in the NFL.

“We all wish we could play better, and that starts with me,” Flacco said. “Up to this point, no, I haven’t and we haven’t played the way we want to or should.”

Now with the New York Jets, former Ravens free safety Ed Reed will square off with Flacco on Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium.

Two years ago, Reed was critical of Flacco's performance during a playoff win over the Houston Texans. He praised him on Wednesday during a conference call with Baltimore reporters.

"He's throwing the ball, he's a quarterback now," Reed said. "He's been letting it fly. Joe is growing. He's still a young quarterback with some years under him, but he's going to be around this league a long time because he has all the attributes of a great quarterback."

With the Ravens in danger of not making the playoffs for the first time in his career, Flacco said this isn’t the time to be cautious.

“When you’re a 4-6 football team, obviously you haven’t played the way you wanted to or the way you think you could,” Flacco said. “But everything we want to do is still ahead of us. We don’t have anything to lose right now. We can’t really be in any worse of a sitution and still have hope.

“What do we have left to lose? We’ve dealt with as much crap as you can deal with. We’ve had to stand up here and talk about not playing well and staring it straight in the eye and dealing with it. We’ve just got to go let it loose.”

awilson@baltsun.com

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