OWINGS MILLS - Some of the throws Joe Flacco is making this season suggest he is pressing. Flacco denies that is the case.
But when your team is 1-5? When you have thrown almost as many interceptions (seven) as touchdowns (eight)? When your best receiver, Steve Smith, is playing with small fractures in his vertebrae? Questions about forcing throws and pressing are going to be asked.
“I don’t feel any more pressure,” Flacco insisted this week. “It’s all about coming out here on a daily basis and just making sure that we’re working those details so that come Sunday – come Monday night – that all comes naturally.
“Everybody goes out there on Sunday and makes some kind of play. I don’t necessarily think you look to do that. The opportunities present themselves and it happens. No, I don’t think I’m pressing in any way to do those things. It’s just part of it.”
However, the numbers suggest otherwise. Flacco has only thrown more than 12 interceptions once in his career, when he threw 22 in 2013. Not by coincidence, that was the only year in Flacco’s career when the Ravens failed to make the playoffs, finishing 8-8.
Here's an ominous fact for the Ravens and Flacco, heading into Monday night's game in Arizona. The Cardinals lead the NFL in interceptions with 11. If Flacco makes bad decisions and poor throws against the Cardinals, he will pay for it. But Ravens coach John Harbaugh insisted his confidence in Flacco has not waned, even in these trying times.
“You have to come out and find a way to get better to make the breaks happen,” Harbaugh said. “That’s true for every position, every player, including Joe – probably Joe more than anybody, because he’s our quarterback, and he’s our leader. If I have confidence in anybody’s ability to get that right, it’s Joe Flacco.”