Preseason football often means nothing, but the Ravens need to show they are growing on offense.
Last month, David Ginsburg of the Associated Press (per Yahoo! Sports) reported the team reached an extension with running back Ray Rice. Now, quarterback Joe Flacco needs to lead this team to a breakout season on offense.
Flacco made headlines earlier this year when he told WNST 1570 in Baltimore (via ESPN.com) that he believes he is the best quarterback in the NFL. It was a bold statement by the 27-year-old QB.
Is he the best quarterback in the league? No. However, Baltimore does not need him to be. The team needs him to continue to develop as a passer.
Last season was a good season for the Ravens, and they were very close to reaching the Super Bowl. Flacco attempted a career-high 542 passes but finished with the lowest completion percentage (57.6 percent) in his four seasons.
When Detroit visits Baltimore on Friday, Flacco will display an improved arm.
Receiver Torrey Smith and tight end Ed Dickson are both banged up, so it will be up to the quarterback to move the chains. He will need to use his other receivers and focus on getting completions.
Flacco will not play a long time in the game, but he will show good accuracy on short throws. Although the Ravens have playmakers in the passing game this season, the team needs an accurate passer more than anything.
The Lions can get to the quarterback in a hurry. It will be up to Flacco to maintain his composure and get rid of the ball quickly. The Ravens allowed only 33 sacks per game last season, so the offensive line gives its quarterback time to throw.
This game is the perfect scenario for Flacco. He may be without several key pieces on offense, which means he will need to focus on hitting his targets. The quarterback will not be expected to showcase his arm with deep balls.
Baltimore's defense will continue to be one of the league's best, so the team is waiting for Flacco to improve his accuracy.
In limited action Friday night, the signal-caller will work on proving he is an elite quarterback. He needs to work on his completion percentage and should not rely heavily on Rice during the preseason. He needs to keep his star running back healthy for the regular season.
Exhibition games do not count in the NFL, but Flacco needs to show signs of improvement in leading this offense if he wants to stay in Baltimore for years to come.