Joe Flacco has never missed a start in six seasons. However, here’s another streak that Flacco would like to see end. Flacco was sacked at least once in every game last season.
When Flacco was sacked more than twice in 2013, the Ravens were 2-6. That’s another illustration of how important it will be for the offensive line to protect Flacco better in 2014.
The Ravens feel confident the offensive line is much improved. They traded for starting center Jeremy Zuttah, a more experienced player than last year’s starting center, Gino Gradkowski. Left guard Kelechi Osemele is healthy again after back surgery. And while the right tackle spot remains a question mark, will Rick Wagner or Ryan Jensen play significantly worse than Michael Oher, who struggled last season at right? It’s possible that Wagner or Jensen will be an upgrade over Oher.
Only Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (58) was sacked more than Flacco last season. With Gary Kubiak taking over as offensive coordinator, the Ravens are expected to feature more bootlegs and moving pockets that make Flacco less of a stationary target. Flacco will also be expected to make quick reads that get the football out of hands before the pass rush gets to him.
The Ravens hope all of those factors result in more trips to the end zone, and fewer trips to the ground for Flacco. The consecutive start streak is something Flacco is proud of. But another sack streak Flacco can live without.