Flacco needs to improve if the Ravens want to reach the Super Bowl.
Flacco is under the microscope and for good reason. Quarterback is considered to be the most important position in football. Furthermore, the Ravens' success depends largely on the play of the former first-round pick.
Here are some things Flacco needs to improve on for the Ravens to reach the promised land, also known as the Super Bowl.
Torrey Smith and company need to step up to help their quarterback.
Perhaps the biggest area Flacco needs to improve in is accuracy. Although he has a career completion percentage over 60 percent, the Delaware product slipped a little last season, when he completed only 57.1 percent.
That is not a statistic fitting of an elite quarterback and he will have to improve on it to get the Ravens to the Super Bowl or at least to the playoffs.
Of course his completion percentage suffered in part because of some inexperienced receivers such as Torrey Smith and tight end Ed Dickson. Smith had a case of the drops early on but he seemed to improve as the season wore on, and he looks to be a major weapon for Baltimore in the upcoming season.
Dickson dropped his fair share of passes as well. He has great athletic ability and he will have to step up his game in 2012.
So far this preseason Flacco's throws seem to be more on target, which is a good sign for the purple and black.
Michael Oher and his linemates will do their part to keep Flacco upright.
There was a lot of concern over the offensive line's play after the first preseason game—and rightfully so. The line seemed to play better in the second game, which may have had to do with the return of veteran Matt Birk.
When Flacco is on his back many are quick to blame the line. Most times that is right but other times it comes down to the quarterback feeling the pressure and reading the right blitzes.
Flacco is not known to have the greatest pocket presence. If he wants to play all 16 games and beyond, he will need to see the field better and feel the pressure coming. Of course, solid line play would be a big help.
While Lewis is still the unquestioned leader of the Ravens, Flacco needs to be right behind him in the pecking order.
Finally perhaps the most important area that Flacco needs to improve on is his leadership. He seems quiet, at least to the media, but that is not really the issue. Some lead by example and some lead by words. Flacco seems to prefer leading by example.
Flacco needs to show confidence, the ability to put the team on his shoulders when things are not going well and lead them to victory. All the greats were able to do that including the likes of Elway, Montana, Unitas and last year's nemesis Tom Brady.
Can Flacco do that?
Although the first preseason game was mostly a debacle for the starters you could see that happening with Flacco. Things were not going well at all. The line was getting beat, receivers were dropping passes, the offense was not moving the ball and the Ravens were down on the scoreboard. Flacco stepped up and led an impressive scoring drive and turned things around
That is what needs to happen. When the chips are down the team needs to feel like it can look to Joe Flacco for answers. Can Flacco do it? Only time will tell.