Gail Burton/Associated Press
It’s a shocker, I know. Joe Flacco will be under center (and in the shotgun and the pistol too) for the Ravens and all the pieces are in place for him to have the best season of his career.
For starters, he will actually have people to throw to. Dennis Pitta’s presence for a full season will do wonders for the passing attack, and the addition of Steve Smith gives Flacco an adequate replacement for Anquan Boldin—just one year late.
Toss in another year of development from Torrey Smith and Marlon Brown and a dash of the field-stretching capabilities of Jacoby Jones, and the Ravens actually have a pretty good receiving corps in store for 2014 (not to mention another unnamed receiver from the draft).
The offensive line is still a work in progress, but with Eugene Monroe back in the fold, a healthy Kelechi Osemele and a new right tackle, the pass protection should at least be somewhat better.
But we haven’t even gotten to the biggest indicator of Flacco’s impending breakthrough: the coaching hires.
Offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak is a renowned offensive savant, and he’s sure to be more creative with the offense (from play design to personnel groupings to formations to motions) than both of Flacco’s previous play-callers.
Furthermore, while Kubiak is getting all the publicity, there is another new coach that will have a noticeable impact on the gunslinger: QB coach Rick Dennison. Flacco has always performed better with a QB coach in his ear, and the numbers bear that out:
|With QB Coach
||82 TDs, 44 INTs, 87.8 passer rating
|Without QB Coach
||39 TDs, 34 INTS, 76.7 passer rating
Flacco still needs better protection and a semblance of a ground game but if those things materialize then the former Super Bowl MVP will have the best season of his career to date.