How bad has Joe Flacco been in 2017? This one stat encapsulates his futility
The Ravens might be 4-5 on the season and losers of three of their last four games, but they remain firmly in the playoff chase, currently just one game out of the final wild-card spot. All this even while having one of the league’s most inept offenses.
How bad has it been? Consider this mind-numbing stat, courtesy of The Packers Wire’s Zach Kruse:
The Packers, who are without Aaron Rodgers, possibly for the rest of the season, will host the Ravens on Sunday. And while Brett Hundley has struggled as Rodgers’ replacement, he had his best game of the season last week when he completed 72 percent of his passes, including this Rodgers-esque game-clinching touchdown to Davante Adams:
Put another way: A 24-year-old quarterback with three career starts has a lot of upside. Which brings us back to Flacco who, even by the Ravens’ lowly offensive standards, is having a historically forgettable season.
But this isn’t all on Flacco, who is currently ranked 32nd among all NFL quarterbacks, ahead of only DeShone Kizer. The offense ranks 24th overall, according to Football Outsiders, and is 28th in passing. This is what happens when your leading receivers are a running back and a tight end (Javorious Allen has 39 receptions, Ben Watson has 38). Wideouts Jeremy Maclin and Mike Wallace lead the team in receiving yards (310 and 267) but have been targeted 32 fewer times than Allen and Watson.
The hope is that another running back — Danny Woodhead, who was signed this offseason and could be activated off injured reserve this week — can jumpstart the Ravens’ stagnant offense.
“I think he can definitely make a big impact,” Flacco said, via ESPN.com. “I think it is on us to get him involved and put that fear in other teams that we can hurt people with him.”
In August, we wrote about whether Woodhead could be the Ravens’ most versatile back since Ray Rice.
Early in Flacco’s career he was known to rely heavily on wide receiver Derrick Mason and tight end Todd Heap, but it was Rice that truly served as the young quarterback’s security blanket. Which makes Flacco’s comments over the summer about Woodhead all the more telling.
“Really, ever since we lost Ray Rice, we haven’t had a type of back that’s quite like how Ray was and quite like how Danny is in the passing game,” Flacco told the team’s website in June. “They just have a very good feel for when they’re open and how to get open, how to sit in holes, how to find my eyes and you can already see that. You can see he has a really good feel for those kinds of things.”
Coach John Harbaugh agrees.
“He was brought here in the role that you can all stand here and envision him playing,” the coach said this week. “We saw it a little bit in the first drive before he got hurt in the Cincinnati game. It’s an opportunity for Joe to have someone to work underneath a little bit, to drop the ball down to when he needs to, to run screens, to put out there as a wide receiver and create matchup issues for people. That’s the kind of guy that we’re looking for when we signed him. So, we signed him for a reason, and it’s going to be nice to have him on the field.”
The Packers’ defense ranks 20th overall and 23rd against the pass. Meanwhile, Flacco is coming off a season-best 261 passing yards against the Titans, whose defense is 22nd overall and 22nd against the pass.
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