Despite Flacco's substandard season, Jim Caldwell recognizes improvement from quarterback

Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco struggled mightily last season, slumping to career-worst efficiency months after being named the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player.

Flacco threw a career-high and franchise-record 22 interceptions, finishing with just 19 touchdowns and a 73.1 passer rating that ranked him 32nd among qualified NFL quarterbacks.

Despite the problems Flacco dealt with as he was sacked 48 times for the second-highest total in the NFL and lacking adequate support from a sluggish running game that ranked 30th in the NFL, former Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell expressed confidence that the quarterback will rebound strongly and make a sound adjustment to new offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak's playbook.

"He’s improved," Caldwell, the Detroit Lions' new head coach, said Thursday at the NFL scouting combine. "He’s done extremely well. He’s got a great grasp of protections. He’s got a great grasp of systems. He’s got a great grasp of being able to get you into the right runs and things of that nature. And those things aren’t easy to come by.

"He works at it. He cares about it. He’s committed to it. And I think you’re just going to see him, even in a new system, whatever they ask him to do, you’re going to see that he’s going to be able to do."

Flacco passed for 3,912 yards, but it took him 614 attempts and he completed just 59 percent of his throws.

During the Ravens' postseason run the previous season, Flacco had 11 touchdowns and no interceptions in four playoff games. It wasn't even close to that kind of precision this past season as he threw five interceptions in a loss to the Buffalo Bills.

"I still think he’s a talented guy, which he’s proven," Caldwell said. "He’s got skills and ability. Not every year is going to be a perfect year. Also, guys can’t do it alone at that spot. But I do think he made progress. Sometimes, it’s tough for you to see just in terms of numbers.
"If you look at numbers strictly, they can be a bit deceiving at times. But when you take a look from the inside out, we had an opportunity to work with him day after day. He’s been improving by leaps and bounds each and every year, and I would anticipate that’s going to continue”



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