Pitta on return: "I feel great"
Joe Flacco cannot dodge his disappointing numbers this season, and he doesn’t even try. He has already thrown 13 interceptions, a career high. His quarterback rating is 75.3, on pace to be the lowest of his career. Even when Flacco was a rookie in 2008, he had a quarterback rating of 80.3, and his completion percentage (60.0) and yards per completion (6.9) were higher than now (58.6 percent, 6.5 yards per completion).
And here’s the worst number of all. The Ravens are 4-6, heading into Sunday’s home game against the Jets. This could be the first time in six seasons that a Flacco-led team doesn’t make the playoffs. Bad stats are one thing. But losing? That’s something Flacco has a much harder time tolerating.
“We’re disappointed in the way we’ve played,” Flacco said Wednesday. “Listen, we all wish we could play better, and that starts with me. So, yeah, when you’re a 4-6 football team, obviously you haven’t played the way you’ve wanted to or the way you think you could. But everything we want to do is still ahead of us. We just have to take care of this game and continue to get better, do all we can do win it, and then move on to the next one and the next one. We don’t have anything to lose right now. We can’t really be in any worse situation and still have hope. We’ve got to go out there, and we’ve got to lay it on the line. That’s what we did last year. We let it all go, and we just played free.”
Very little has gone like previous seasons for Flacco so far. There have been many adjustments that have made his job more difficult – new receivers, issues along the offensive line, and a subpar running game. But Flacco’s job is to make plays, not excuses, especially after signing a six-year, $120.6 million contract during the offseason. Flacco has never shied from the expectations that come with that deal, or with the responsibility that comes with his job. His second-quarter interception Sunday, intended for Dallas Clark but thrown into heavy traffic, is a prime example of a throw Flacco would like to have back. But Flacco disputes the notion that he is pressing, trying too hard to force throws that he shouldn’t.
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“I am a guy that does not like to throw interceptions,” Flacco said. “I was talking to my dad driving home from the facility one day and yeah, it’s annoying. Believe me, I’d tell if you I didn’t think I was being patient, and if I thought I was throwing the ball to the wrong spot or just not seeing guys and stuff like that. I’ve thrown more picks than I should, but at the same time I still feel like I am playing patient football. I feel like I’m still taking some chances that I need to take. I tried to take a shot on a situation (to Clark) that you probably don’t need to, and they ended up getting three points on it. So yeah, that eats at you.”
What eats at Flacco most is the Ravens’ record. To improve it, Flacco will have to play better. Listen to Flacco, and he still sounds full of confidence. But Flacco also knows the Ravens are running short on time.