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Flacco Set to Answer a Myriad of Questions Sunday

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     A timeline: 

Events taken from various reports on the Ravens website.

July 17 – Joe Flacco “tweaked” his back while lifting weights in New Jersey.

July 26 – Flacco reports the incident to the Ravens upon the first day of training camp and undergoes an MRI. Twitter blows up as beat writers and insiders report timetables of Flacco’s recovery ranging from one week of rest before he returns to practice, up to out for six weeks.

This also sparks the controversial Colin Kaepernick talk as the Ravens become a team that maybe in need of competition for Ryan Mallet as the QB2 on the roster.

August 1 – Reported as “stiffness” in his back, Head Coach John Harbaugh addresses the media stating that Flacco is progressing well and “all indications have been positive.”

August 8 – Ravens Owner Steve Bisciotti seen after practice chatting with Joe Flacco outside of the castle. Pat Kirwan and Jim Miller on NFL Radio for SirusXM got to talk to Bisciotti and Flacco and asked about the conversation between the two, and Flacco’s health. The lighthearted conversation suggested that everything with Flacco was okay, they were chatting about golf together.

Bisciotti joked, “he looks about as sick as I did when I used to tell my mother I had a cold or a stomach ache when I really had a spelling test that day.”

When Flacco was asked how soon he could be back, he replied in Joe Cool fashion, “pretty soon”.

At this point Flacco has missed two weeks of practice and has dealt with the injury for three weeks. Questions start mounting as the Kaepernick saga picks up more and more steam. Will chemistry between Flacco and his receivers, his O-Line, be off as he misses more time?

August 10 – Ryan Mallett looked poor in his first preseason game effort, further adding fuel to the need for Kaepernick fire.

August 14 – Ravens make their vague thoughts on Kaeperrnick well known by signing Thaddeus Lewis to compete for the third quarterback role with Josh Woodrum. Woodrum showed well in his preseason action.

August 17 – John Harbaugh mentions after preseason game two that Flacco would not practice in the coming week. This after taking a day by day approach in the early going of camp and everyone shrugging off the injury as nothing to see here. All of sudden coach is taking a week by week approach. Skepticism building.

August 24 – The Ravens make it quite clear that they won’t be commenting on any injuries unless they are season threatening. Ronnie Stanley, Danny Woodhead, Breshad Perriman, all unknown when they will return, in addition to Joe Flacco. Offensive Coordinator Marty Mornhinwheg commented on Flacco’s health.

“I think I know, and I think Joe thinks he knows, when this will happen. So that way, I think I know. So, we think we know,”

“Look, if it’s before that – probably not much before, but a little bit before or after – we’ll adjust the plan. As long as he’s back with a reasonable amount of time to prepare, I think we’re going to be just fine.”

Pretty straight forward, no?

August 27 – John Harbaugh “promises” that Flacco will be ready for the season opener in Cincinnati on September 10. PFT’s Mike Florio says, “being back for the Bengals game is one thing. Being ready for the Bengals game is another.” Truer words may have never been said before.

August 29 – Harbaugh reports that Flacco has resumed throwing. But he isn’t suiting up in practice. Skeptics begin to wonder how long it will take to knock the rust off.

August 31- Harbaugh mentions post-practice that Flacco feels good throwing, but hasn’t been cleared by doctors yet to take the practice field. That note muddies the waters a bit as you have to think with all the promises that Joe will be ready, now it’s in the doctor’s hands? Sounds eerily similar to times in the last couple seasons where Harbs would eventually start deflecting injury questions with “you’ll have to ask the doctors about that.”

Ever seen a doctor take to the podium at a press conference?

September 2 – Joe Flacco returns to the practice field eight days ahead of their week 1 tilt at Cincinnati. He returned in 41 days after reporting the injury on the first day of camp. One-day shy of six weeks. Multiple reports noted that he was making all the throws and looked in good form. Never would have known he had back issues.

     Reaction:

Great news. Joe Flacco will be starting week 1. The Ravens are unquestionably in a bad spot if anyone else is the starting quarterback. Although the king of spin, Coach Harbaugh, mentioned that they will have to monitor the situation with his back over the coming days. As if it’s not for sure yet. There are no guarantees in life except death and taxes. But the fact the Ravens kept Ryan Mallett as the only other QB on the 53-man roster means you can be very sure that Flacco is ready to go health wise. If there were lingering health concerns, like that he wouldn’t recover from a tough hit, they would have taken the precaution to carry three quarterbacks and not eight defensive lineman. At least, I hope so.

We know Flacco can make all the throws on the field. It’s been a strength in his game for years. Communication, not so much health, will be the real key come Sunday with just eight days to get it right.

If given a 2-minute drill in the upcoming game, how does Flacco manage it with some new faces around like Jeremy Maclin and Danny Woodhead? Will they be on the same page when it comes to signals and timing? If Greg Roman employs more of a “hat on a hat” blocking scheme, will he anticipate which O-lineman is picking up which defender pre-snap? The first time he gets popped for a sack, how does he respond? Especially if it’s in the back from his blind side.

Another question. How good will Flacco look against a team trying to knock his teeth out when the pads go on and the non-contact jersey comes off? Will throwing off the back foot that plagued his game in 2016 coming off the knee injury creep into his game again?

Marty Mornhinwheg mentioned that as long as Flacco is back with reasonable amount of time to prepare, they’ll be just fine. Are we to assume that eight days is the time period the Ravens are happy with? Training camp is over. Flacco’s return is basically a midseason return when you think about the schedule. Teams are preparing for week 1. They have an off day, a walk through day, film study, game plan installation. This isn’t competition based camp and field trips anymore. This is working on a small subset of what they’ll want to execute in Cincy. Not going over everything in the book cover to cover with his guys. Flacco is getting ready for Sunday just like he will for the next four or five months. Maybe that’s okay. We’ll see.

Can Joe Flacco walk right in, prepare for a regular season game at real speed and be successful? Does Joe Flacco really need training camp? Should he get his best Allen Iverson impression ready for Sunday’s post-game presser?

Joe Flacco has done a lot of things entering his 10th season. But getting ready for a regular season game with one week of practice after seeing no action for eight months isn’t one of them. Even after the knee injury, Flacco came back and started the next training camp, played a little in the preseason as well. The Ravens have done such a good job at keeping this particular situation a secret, I don’t think anyone knows what to expect.

Lots of questions. Answers to come Sunday in Cincy. 

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Written by Mike Randall
2 months ago
Baltimore Ravens, ,

Mike Randall

Mike was born on the Eastern Shore, raised in Finksburg, and currently resides in Parkville. In 2009, Mike graduated from the Broadcasting Institute of Maryland. Mike became a Baltimore City Fire Fighter in late 2010. Mike has appeared as a guest on Q1370, and FOX45. Now a Sr. Ravens Analyst for BSL, he be reached at mik[email protected]

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