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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Is there anything left of the old Joe Flacco?

By Matthew Coller

The debate over whether Joe Flacco qualified as an elite quarterback had a really good run.

But his play over the last three seasons has put an end to any conversation over his status. Now he’s much closer to the bottom than the top. But there are still some flashes – and that should be enough for the Vikings to still take Flacco seriously.

Since 2014, Baltimore’s Super Bowl-winning QB has a 14-18 record with 38 touchdowns, 35 interceptions, 6.4 yards per attempt and an 80.9 quarterback rating.

Conincidentally that’s the same quarterback rating as Vikings backup quarterback Case Keenum has for his career.

Flacco was never in the category of Tom Brady or Peyton Manning, but his good years were pretty darn good.

In 2012, he threw 22 touchdowns, 10 interceptions and averaged 12.0 yards per completion. Then when the playoffs came around, he put together one of the greatest runs of any quarterback in playoff history, registering 11 touchdowns, zero interceptions, 15.6 yards per completion and a 117.2 rating.

You can understand why he was debated as elite since Flacco threw 24 touchdowns and three interceptions in the playoffs between 2010 and 2014. He also went 52-28 in the regular season during that time.

Playoff numbers and win totals probably swayed some farther into his corner than he deserved. But the thing that stands out most about his career – and even his current season – is that Flacco is like Aaron Judge. He either strikes out or hits the ball 500 feet. His best games are incredible and his worst games are astonishingly bad.

Baltimore’s franchise QB has had 25 regular season games in which he posted a rating over 110 and 14 where his rating is below 50.

Think about this: Sam Bradford’s lowest rating of his career is 39.2. Flacco has six games that are worse than that. Flacco also has six games over 125 ratings.

This year, the 32-year-old QB has two very strong games. Against the Browns in Week 2, he completed 25-for-34 passes with 217 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Then against the Raiders, he went 19-for-26 with 222 yards.

Those were nowhere near his best marks, but good enough for ratings 97.3 and 98.6, respectively.

He was rated by Pro Football Focus as one of the top QBs of Week 2.

The top graded quarterbacks in Week 2

— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) September 20, 2017

Combine all his other games, however, and Flacco has two touchdowns and seven interceptions. Against the Jaguars, he registered a 12.0 rating, the lowest of his career.

Every so often, he can still hit the deep ball. In Oakland, he completed passes of 52 and 54 yards to deep-threat receiver Mike Wallace. Both were on go routes, both were dropped in perfectly by the Ravens’ quarterback.

There have been other times where Flacco looks immobile and uncomfortable. He missed all of training camp and preseason with a disc injury in his back, which may have impacted his game.

You wouldn’t expect a QB who’s generally known for throwing deep to have the sixth quickest time from snap to throw in the NFL, but Flacco does. You might also think a quarterback who’s started 144 games in the NFL wouldn’t be as affected by pressure, but Flacco ranked 29th vs. pressure by PFF metrics heading into the matchup against the Bears.

The result of these things combined is that he’s been very poor on intermediate throws, completing 8-of-22 passes between 11-20 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions.

None of this bodes very well for Flacco against the Vikings defense, which sports the seventh and 12th ranked edge rushers in the NFL by PFF ratings. Everson Griffen is fourth in the league in sacks and Danielle Hunter has consistently pressured QBs all year. Plus, Ravens starting left tackle Ronnie Stanley did not practice on Wednesday. Three of his receivers also showed up on the injury report.

The bottom line is: On the whole, Flacco has been one of the league’s worst quarterbacks, and the circumstances are heavily in Minnesota’s favor. But the Vikings must be aware of the chance that Flacco could get hot and hit game-changing deep passes.

The post Is there anything left of the old Joe Flacco? appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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