Baltimore Ravens: Who Is the Most Valuable Raven?

chad lamasaCorrespondent IDecember 2, 2008

After 12 weeks of the season, I think it's time to start looking at who is the Most Valuable Raven.

The Ravens have truly surprised me by winning eight games at this point in the season. I was hoping for an 8-8 record to be honest—especially with a new head coach, offensive coordinator, and a question mark for quarterback.

John Harbaugh has come in with no head coaching experience and took the reins of this team and lead them in the right direction and quite possibly a playoff spot after a disappointing season last year.

Harbaugh has proven that he won't put up with the same nonsense that Brian Billick did. When Chris McAlister became a distraction he was removed from the starting lineup. An injury has sidelined him for the remainder of the season but I don't think we will see C-Mac suiting up for the Ravens next season.

Cam Cameron, has a proven track record as an offensive coordinator, last season in Miami notwithstanding. He fueled the high powered San Diego Chargers offense for a few years. Miami was a fluke as he is proving this year. Bringing in trick plays and new packages, he has opened up the offense this season.

I have written a story about the quarterback situation during the preseason, and then the progress of Flacco during the season.

Joe Flacco, to me is the MVR, this season. Coming off of an unspectacular preseason, he was called into service as the starting QB, due to an injury to Kyle Boller and Troy Smith coming down with tonsillitis.

In the first game of the season, Flacco got his first win, against the Cincinnati Bengals. He didn't have huge numbers 15-29 129 yards passing but he didn't have any turnovers. Also he showed he has mobility by running for a 38 yard touchdown.

Over the course of the season he has gone from game manager to game winner. In the first few games of the season, the playbook was limited while Joe was getting used to the speed of the pros. He didn't air out many passes, and we ran the ball a lot.

After five or six games it seemed like the game was slowing down for Joe. The playbook became bigger and deep plays started showing up. Finally the receivers have someone that can get them the ball downfield accurately.

The team has embraced Flacco and trusts him. As a rookie he has had ups and downs this season but it seems the ups are more frequent than the downs. He has a poise that Kyle Boller could never get even after six years in the league.

When Flacco does make a mistake, he doesn't try to make it up for it on the next play. He seems to forget about it before the next snap.

In the last seven weeks he has turned the corner and thrown 11 of his 12 touchdowns and only two interceptions, both against the Giants. Only one of those was his fault. Derrick Mason didn't catch a ball he should have and the Giants came up with it. Over that span Flacco's 99.1 passer rating is the best in the league.

The Ravens and Baltimore may finally have the franchise quarterback they have been waiting for since days of Bert Jones.

I look forward to watching Flacco for many years to come.