I've watched the video from Joe Flacco's first press conference of the season, and I'm trying not to read too much into his comments. Obviously, seeing a little public swagger from Flacco -- even if said swagger is still delivered via monotone -- is a good thing for a quarterback who can no longer be called a young quarterback.
Flacco never used inexperience as an excuse after the few times he struggled in his first three years in the league -- unfortunately, much of those struggles came in postseason play -- and neither has the organization. After he came in and played like a veteran against the Bengals in his first NFL start in 2008, he was treated like a veteran by coach John Harbaugh and his teammates in front of the video cameras and microphones.
But now that he has played three seasons in the league, winning at least one postseason game in each, expectations are high for Flacco inside the Castle. The Ravens have made it clear that he is one of the cornerstones of the franchise, but they are also turning up the heat on him, too. Ozzie Newsome called him inconsistent at the end of last season. Steve Bisciotti is making him wait for his contract extension. And the team will release two of his security blankets in Derrick Mason and Todd Heap, forcing him to grow up on his own.
Flacco is going to get that contract, and I don’t think Newsome and Bisciotti would mind if Flacco played well enough this season (and hopefully in the postseason) to demand a more lucrative deal this winter.
And while Flacco’s comments were encouraging to hear, the 26-year-old has to deliver on the field to prove that he is a “pretty damn good” quarterback, silence his critics and maximize his earning potential.
I know that. You know that. And Flacco knows it, too.
That part was clear Wednesday when he delivered this money quote -- in a “fiery” monotone, of course.
"We've had a good team the last three years, and I think I've gotten better each of the last three years and played pretty darn good,” he told a group of giddy reporters. “But the bottom line is, you've got to win the big game: the Super Bowl. Until then, in the world we live in today, there is usually one good quarterback at the end of the year and 31 other not good ones. That's not reality, but that's the way it is.
“My goal is to be that one good quarterback, and for us to be that one good team at the end of the year."
Now comes the hard part for Flacco: actually going out and doing it.