"Is Flacco Elite?!" The 2018 Baltimore Ravens Hope So
by DS WilliamsonFor the third straight season, the Baltimore Ravens missed the playoffs. The consistent organization finds itself in a watershed season. If the 2018 Baltimore Ravens don’t make the playoffs this season, both QB Joe Flacco and head coach John Harbaugh will be out the door. This NFL betting bandwagon might not even have any passengers - nor fans - by season's end.
Can the offense improve enough to save QB Joe Flacco? Joe Flacco has averaged less than 7 yards per pass completion the past couple of seasons. That’s why during the off season, the Ravens shed themselves of four of their top-five wide receivers. The 2018 Baltimore Ravens are going with Michael Crabtree, John Brown, and Willie Snead instead. All three can spread the field. Brown, especially, is a burner.
The Ravens provided more help to Flacco by adding two tight-ends via the draft, Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews. Both could turn into quality NFL tight-ends.
By adding the tight-ends, as well as settling on Alex Collins as their starting running back, the Ravens are sending Flacco a message, “Can you become great again?” That’s the problem, of course. Even though Flacco won a Super Bowl with the Baltimore Ravens, it’s difficult to find any football fan that would say Joe Flacco has ever been great.
Flacco has never thrown less than double-digits in interceptions over the course of a season. He’s never completed more than 64.9% of his passes. He only hit 64.9% once, in the 2016-2017 season. What’s Flacco’s highest QB rating during his career? 93.6 in the 2010-2011 NFL Season.
So, the issue isn’t if Joe Flacco can return to his former greatness. The greatness never existed. The real issue is whether Joe Flacco can become better than he’s ever been before. That’s asking a lot of a quarterback whose rookie season was a decade ago.
Same defense as last season... Baltimore had a decent defense last season. It’s difficult to understand why the Ravens didn’t make any changes, though. The reason I write that is because settling for the 12th ranked defense in the NFL doesn’t lead to a ton of confidence. It's hard to imagine the 2018 Baltimore Ravens being better than they were in 2017.
Let’s not forget that the Ravens didn’t make the playoffs last season. At least trying to upgrade the defense might have been a good idea.
Ravens’ schedule means they’re done for before the bye The Baltimore Ravens schedule means that they’re done for before their Week 10 bye. How tough is the schedule? Baltimore battles the rival Pittsburgh Steelers twice before Week 10. That’s downright idiotic.
Not only that, but the Ravens must also battle Denver at Denver, Tennessee at Tennessee, and Carolina at Carolina. Road games against Cincinnati and Cleveland won’t be as easy as many believe they will be. Buffalo at home in Week 1 isn’t an easy game while the Saints in Week 7 will be tough to beat.
The schedule is tough. But, that’s not the real reason to believe it’s a bad season for the 2018 Baltimore Ravens. The real reason to believe it’s a bad season is because Joe Flacco must improve, and there’s no reason to believe he will. I'm done waiting for this rose to bloom.