Ray Rice is ready to go
It seems the debate about whether Joe Flacco is an elite quarterback continues to rage long after he drove off in his Super Bowl MVP car and slipped a Super Bowl ring on his finger.
He didn't crack the top 10 in NFL.com's list of the top 100 players (he ranked 19th, and was No. 7 among quarterbacks), and Pro Football Focus apparently isn't ready to slap the "elite" tag on him, either.
Neil Hornsby of Pro Football Focus broke down the Ravens projected 2013 starting lineup, placing everyone in one of seven categories -- Rookie, Poor, Below Average, Average, Above Average, High Quality and Elite.
Hornsby assigns the elite tag to just one Ravens player, and it's not Flacco. It's right guard Marshal Yanda.
"What to do with Joe Flacco?" Hornsby writes. "A player who was so average in the regular season he rated below Carson Palmer and Matthew Stafford, but was brilliant when it mattered. In the end I said, “he turns a corner”, and went 'High Quality.' "
Flacco is one of five Ravens that Horsnby rates as "High Quality." The others are running back Ray Rice, wide receiver Torrey Smith, cornerback Lardarius Webb, defensive lineman Haloti Ngata and linebacker Terrell Suggs.
Tight end Dennis Pitta misses out on the High Quality label, according to Hornsby, because of "sub-optimal blocking."
Hornsby likewise isn't impressed with Elvis Dumervil, who is rated "Average." "Dumervi hasn’t played really well for a few years now and could go either way," Hornsby writes. "If he exceeds this level we are looking at a very good defensive line."
Hornsby projects two rookies to crack the starting lineup -- inside linebacker Arthur Brown and safety Matt Elam.
You can check the entire lineup breakdown here.