To commemorate the Ravens' 15 years of existence, Ravens Insider will select an All-Ravens team. It will honor the 26 best players (11 on offense, 11 on defense and four on special teams) who have played on the Ravens from 1996 to 2010.
The All-Ravens team finishes with the offense, focusing on quarterback:
Quarterback: Joe Flacco (2008-present)
It's clear that there's only four candidates: Vinny Testaverde, Trent Dilfer, Steve McNair and Joe Flacco. An argument could be made for each quarterback, but Flacco is the pick here because he's the winningest quarterback in team history and holds nearly all of the Ravens' passing records. Here's a breakdown of the top four quarterbacks in existence of the Ravens:
Vinny Testaverde (1996-97): Based purely on passing numbers, Testaverde had the best season for a Ravens quarterback. In the Ravens' inaugural season, Testaverde didn't have the luxury of having a great defense. His arm kept the Ravens in games despite having a really bad defense. He threw for 4,177 yards (over 500 yards more than any other Raven) and 33 touchdowns in directing the NFL's sixth-highest scoring offense that year.
Testaverde didn't play as well in his second season, although he still produced respectable numbers (he threw nine touchdowns during the 3-1 start in 1997). A knee injury ended his season that many fans will remember for his turnovers and blunder. The one play that will haunt Testaverde is getting intercepted on a pass from his knees after slipping.
Trent Dilfer (2000): The argument could be made that Dilfer had the most successful season for a Ravens quarterback because he is the only one to lead the team to a Super Bowl triumph. Others contend he didn't lead the Ravens and that he was only along for the ride with one of the best defenses in NFL history. Dilfer had an 11-1 record with the Ravens, throwing 15 touchdowns and 10 interceptions during his 11-game winning streak.
Dilfer's statistics were mediocre at best. He was held to under 200 yards passing nine times, including two games under 100 yards. But he made timely big plays during the playoffs and will go down as one of the best leaders the Ravens have ever had at the position.
Steve McNair (2006-07): "Air McNair" guided the Ravens to their first playoff appearance in three years and their best regular season in team history, capturing the AFC North with a 13-3 record in 2006. In those wins, McNair threw 15 touchdowns and eight interceptions. His poised presence was felt late in games. He directed three game-winning drives in the fourth quarter (at Cleveland, vs. San Diego and at Tennessee). McNair's 3,050 yards passing ranks fourth-best in team history.
That season was soured in a 15-6 playoff loss to the Indianapolis Colts when he threw a critical interception near the goal line. That turmoil continued into the next season, which was injury-filled (groin, shoulder and back) and included 11 turnovers (four interceptions, seven fumbles) in six games.
Joe Flacco (2008-present): In three seasons, he is already the Ravens' all-time leader in passing yards (10,206), touchdown passes (60) and completions (878). After being a caretaker as a rookie, he became the first quarterback in Ravens history to post two 3,000-yard passing seasons (which stands as the second- and third-most in team history). His 36 victories (including postseason) are tied with Dan Marino for the most by a starting quarterback in his first three NFL seasons.
The biggest criticism of Flacco has come in the playoffs. He has averaged a pedestrian 150 yards passing, throwing four touchdowns and seven interceptions (a rating of 61.6). Flacco has also struggled against the Ravens' biggest rival. He is 2-6 against the Pittsburgh Steelers (including playoffs) with seven touchdowns and eight interceptions.
Second team: Vinny Testaverde
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