"To be honest with you, as long as you keep your body healthy," Joe Flacco said, "quarterback is position where you should get better as you age." (Kevin Richardson/Baltimore Sun video)
Joe Flacco set career highs in touchdowns and passing yards in 2014, but as he enters his eighth season in the NFL at age 30, he believes he's just hitting his physical prime.
"The last two years, at 30-years-old now, it's funny, but I feel like I'm starting to finally mature," Flacco said. "I think there is definitely a physical peak for people, and it's probably a little bit later than most people would believe."
While Flacco acknowledges he's not as physical or athletic as other quarterbacks, he said he's come a long way since he joined the league as "a little kid."
His noted durability — he's made 112 straight regular-season starts for the Ravens and has not missed a game at any level, even youth football — has allowed him to mentally develop at a faster rate than other quarterbacks.
"As long as you keep your body healthy," Flacco said, "quarterback is a position where you should get better as you age.
"Obviously, there comes a point where you start to decline, but I don't know why that age can't be 45 if you really want it to be. … You're dropping back within a 4x4-yard area, and you're throwing a football. I've just got to keep my arm in shape and stay healthy, and as long as I keep my head right, that's really what it comes down to."
Flacco, who has looked his usual self in training camp this summer despite a new offensive coordinator and a scarcity of experience at wide receiver and tight end, said he's been able to keep growing mentally because of the frequent adjustments he's had to make with the Ravens offense.
Marc Trestman is his fourth offensive coordinator in four seasons after Cam Cameron, Jim Caldwell and Gary Kubiak all departed.
"I've tried to go into this whole thing open-minded the last couple years, and I think it's been for the best," Flacco said. "I think it teaches you things; it allows you to learn a lot. You bounce ideas off of each other, and I think it challenges you – in a good way – to continue to get better."