How to get Joe Flacco back on track


Nov 2, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (5) runs off of the field against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the second half of the game at Heinz Field. The Steelers won the game, 43-23. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Per the Baltimore Ravens’ official websiteGary Kubiak has emphasized getting Joe Flacco more comfortable over the bye week. The numbers show why that is so important: After throwing 12 touchdowns and three interceptions in the first six weeks of the season, Flacco has thrown five touchdowns and five picks in the last four games.

A lot of the problem has been with pass protection. Flacco has been under duress the past three games, including a game in Cincinnati which ranks as his worst of the season. Against Tennessee, Flacco was clearly rattled early in the game, retreating from center rather than taking mechanically sound steps.

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  • Flacco’s mechanics often break down when he’s under pressure, but part of what makes Flacco special is his ability to make ridiculous throws in those situations. Continuous pressure, though, tends to pair the breakdowns with bad decision-making, which is where the problems start.

    We saw this against the Titans, as Flacco missed some easy throws at times, then tried to make contested throws at other times. The first half was really not pretty.

    The second half, Flacco experienced a turnaround. Kubiak’s adjustments were obvious. The gameplan shifted to get the ball out of Flacco’s hands quicker, with simpler reads and mostly shorter routes. On a lot of throws in the second half, Flacco was able to get the ball out of his hands almost immediately because his first read was open immediately.

    Quick developing routes and reads like that are crucial for a guy like Flacco who relies so completely on being in rhythm.

    Some routes that have been effective this year that should help in that regard include slants to Torrey Smith, flats to Kyle Juszczyk and comebacks by Owen Daniels. Juszczyk especially should continue to become a bigger part of the offense, as he has been an extremely efficient player, having turned 17 targets into 13 catches for 154 yards and a touchdown. Defenses have yet to account for him, and the Ravens should make them pay for that oversight.

    Kubiak has done a great job as offensive coordinator this season aside from some balance issues in certain games. With two weeks to analyze Flacco and the offense, Ravens fans should expect great things from the offense for the remainder of the season.