Are the Ravens good enough offensively for the playoffs?
Joe Flacco was at practice Friday, wearing the left knee brace he will wear during Sunday’s game against the Patriots. Coach John Harbaugh kept his comments brief Friday about Flacco’s progress, after an outdoor practice session that was closed to the media.
“He looked good,” Harbaugh said. “He looks pretty much the same all week.”
Nobody will know until Sunday if Flacco will be hampered by the injury suffered Monday night. But here are three things to look for:
1. Accuracy – Will Flacco be able to plant and throw as he normally does? Or will his reluctance to put pressure on his leg lead to some inaccurate passes particularly some that sail high?
2. Mobility – Flacco may not be as mobile as usual, which puts extra pressure on the offensive line to protect him. “That’s the goal every week,” said left tackle Eugene Monroe, who has a tough matchup with Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones who has 11 ½ sacks. “He’s injured, we talked about it, as far as making sure there’s an extra emphasis on not getting him touched. But for me, that’s the goal anyway. Nothing changes.”
3. Adjustments – Perhaps the Ravens will put Flacco in the shotgun formation more often so he can avoid dropping back to throw. Flacco may also look to get rid of the football more quickly to avoid getting hit.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick is expecting Flacco to be effective.
“I think he’s a good competitor,” Belichick said. “I think he’ll go out there and do the very best he can. I wouldn’t expect anything less than his best."
The Ravens hope that is exactly what they get.