Joe Flacco has yet to play a down in the NFL. In fact, he has yet to see an NFL defense in a live full-speed practice where linebackers can outrun the swiftest collegiate safeties.
All the perfect throws during passing camps amount to absolutely nothing if Flacco can’t get it done when it counts.
Take a little tour around the Ravens’ locker room and ask a few of the players both on and off the record what they think of the team’s No. 1 pick in 2008 and the reviews are unanimous. Everyone is predicting a very successful NFL career for the player soon to be labeled Bazooka Joe.
And boy, can this guy fling it!
Joe Flacco can make all of the throws. He lofts a deep sideline pass with enough trajectory to hit a receiver in stride, but not so much as to enable the safety rolling over to make a play on the ball.
He scans the field and knows where to go with the football when the primary, secondary and tertiary options are covered. I think he even knows what tertiary means, too.
Besides a powerful and accurate arm that loses no zip regardless of his arm angle, the lights are actually on upstairs and apparently someone is home.
No wonder the players are excited. Samari Rolle compared Flacco to Carson Palmer!
But slow down!
Is he really that good, or are the players so used to incompetent play at quarterback that relatively speaking, Flacco does look like Palmer?
The yearning for a good quarterback is so strong here in Baltimore. From the owner right on down to the guy who cleans up the dirty discarded adhesive strips in the locker room after practice, everyone connected to the Ravens wants the team to find a franchise signal caller.
After all, we are talking about an organization whose fans think that either Trent Dilfer or Vinny Testaverde is the best QB in franchise history. How bad is that?
Players know players, and they can usually spot talent. When enough players say the same thing, it starts to shape you into a believer. Remember, though, this is Baltimore, where we think that good QB play is only true in fairy tales and even then for some other team, not ours.
With this Flacco guy, Ozzie & Co. might be on to something good.
But let’s wait until Sundays in the fall before we get as happy as a sailor on Bourbon Street.
Tony Lombardi covers the Baltimore Ravens for ProFootball24x7.com