Flacco feeling heat in pocket behind Ravens line

Flacco feeling heat in pocket behind Ravens line
November 13, 2013, 3:18 pm
Share This Post

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco scrambles put of trouble as (L-R) Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Michael Johnson, outside linebacker Vontaze Burfict, defensive end Carlos Dunlap and outside linebacker James Harrison close in during the first half of a NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals in Baltimore, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)


OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) Joe Flacco is feeling the pressure of being quarterback of the Baltimore Ravens, and it has nothing to do with his $120.6 million contract or stature as MVP of the last Super Bowl.

Coming off an outstanding performance in the playoffs, Flacco has been chased, harassed and hit hard in the pocket. The Ravens have yielded 30 sacks in nine games this season, and countless other times Flacco has been forced to throw under duress.

''We're doing a good job against the four-man rushes,'' coach John Harbaugh said Wednesday. ''We've got to do a better job against the pressures.''

Flacco was sacked five times Sunday in a 20-17 overtime win over Cincinnati. He threw two interceptions, lost a fumble in the pocket and finished with only 140 yards passing.

Getting little help from the league's 30th-ranked running game, Flacco has 12 touchdown passes, to 11 interceptions, and ranks 25th among NFL quarterbacks. During the postseason last year, he threw 11 TD passes and was not intercepted once.

That goes a long way toward explaining why the defending Super Bowl champions are 4-5 and struggling to remain relevant in the AFC playoff hunt.

''I think the No. 1 way to stop a good offense or stop any offense is put pressure on the quarterback,'' Flacco said. ''It definitely affects you in some way.''

Flacco is operating behind an offensive line that has three different starters - center Gino Gradkowski, left tackle Eugene Monroe and guard A.Q. Shipley. Gradkowski took over for the retired Matt Birk, Shipley came aboard during the offseason and Monroe was obtained in a trade last month to replace an ineffective Bryant McKinnie.

The unit might eventually come together, but for now it's struggling mightily against the blitz.

''Listen, teams are coming after us a little bit and we're kind of letting them,'' Flacco said. ''We're not really doing anything to combat it. We haven't been good enough to stop it and do other things to get them out of it.''

The Ravens have tried draw plays, screen passes and hastily run pass patterns. Nothing has worked.

''We got to hit them with stuff that makes it hurt. ... We just haven't been good enough to really have teams feel the negative effect of them doing it,'' Flacco said. ''It's kind of been pretty positive for them. That's why they continue to do it.''

So, if the offensive line is going to keep Flacco protected, it would appear the only option is to simply get better.

''I know we can do it. We've got a good scheme; we've got smart guys,'' Harbaugh said. ''We have backs who are willing to pick guys up and stick their face in there and block people. Ray Rice is a premier back and he's also an excellent pass-protection guy.''

This may be true, but as a team, the Ravens just aren't getting it done when it comes to surrounding the highest-paid and most important player on the team. Flacco has been sacked five times in three of Baltimore's last four games.

Not surprisingly, Baltimore lost three of those.

''There's a lot of it involved as far as us getting on the right guys and then it's one-on-one blocks and then it's receivers getting open,'' guard Marshal Yanda said. ''It's the quarterback throwing the ball on time. It's a combination of all of those things. Sometimes it's either a missed block or a blitz where we didn't pick up the right guy or they brought too many and we had to throw hot.''

Baltimore can only hope for improvement Sunday in Chicago (5-4). The Ravens are 0-2 at Soldier Field (falling in 1998 and 2005) and 1-4 this season on the road.

Notes: Harbaugh said the team has no interest in signing former Ravens safety Ed Reed, who was cut by Houston on Tuesday. ''There are no plans to change our secondary personnel at this time. We're happy with what we have. Our guys are playing well,'' he said. ... UFC light heavyweight champ Jon ''Bones'' Jones addressed the players after their morning walk through.


AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Texans - Team News
Alfred Blue - RB
Alfred Blue (ankle) remained limited in Thursday's practice. Arian Foster's caddie is in no danger of missing Week 9.
Oct 30 3:41PM Read More
Andre Johnson - WR
Andre Johnson (ankle) returned to Texans practice Thursday, getting in a limited session. Johnson was never in any danger of missing Sunday's game against the Eagles. With six teams on bye for Week 9, Johnson is a WR1.
Oct 30 3:40PM Read More
Arian Foster - RB
Arian Foster (knee) returned to Texans practice Thursday, getting in a limited session. The Texans are just managing their superstar back's reps. With DeMarco Murray facing the Cardinals' elite run defense, there's a case to be made for Foster as Week 9's No. 1...
Oct 30 3:39PM Read More
Alfred Blue - RB
Alfred Blue (ankle) was limited in Wednesday's practice. Blue got first-team reps with Arian Foster (knee) not practicing. The Texans also held out Andre Johnson (ankle) on Wednesday.
Oct 29 5:15PM Read More
Andre Johnson - WR
Andre Johnson (ankle) did not practice Wednesday. The Texans are limiting Johnson's reps for rest purposes. He didn't suffer any setbacks last week and should be fine for Sunday's game against the Eagles.
Oct 29 3:43PM Read More
Arian Foster - RB
Arian Foster (knee) did not practice Wednesday. It's a new injury for Foster. Coming off his three-touchdown performance, it's possible the Texans are getting him some rest. Foster will be a top-three running back in Week...
Oct 29 3:18PM Read More
Zac Diles - LB
Texans signed LB Zac Diles. CB Elbert Mack was waived in a corresponding roster move. Diles' addition is a sign the Texans aren't expecting Brian Cushing (knee) back for Week 9.
Oct 28 4:04PM Read More
Garrett Graham - TE
Garrett Graham was held without a catch in the Texans' Week 8 win over Tennessee. Graham was targeted just one time on the day, a seam shot from Ryan Fitzpatrick that predictably fell incomplete. Graham has been a very minor part of the offense, making...
Oct 26 4:53PM Read More
Andre Johnson - WR
Andre Johnson caught seven passes for 55 yards in the Texans' Week 8 win over the Titans. Johnson saw a team-high dozen targets. He was followed by Titans top CB Jason McCourty for much of the afternoon, leaving DeAndre Hopkins to work on sophomore Blidi...
Oct 26 4:44PM Read More
DeAndre Hopkins - WR
DeAndre Hopkins caught five passes for 95 yards in the Texans' Week 8 win over the Titans. Hopkins was targeted 11 times compared to 12 for Andre Johnson. Hopkins picked up chunk yards on all of his grabs, and was stopped at the five-yard line on one grab where...
Oct 26 4:24PM Read More
Alfred Blue - RB
Alfred Blue rushed for 42 yards on 14 carries in the Texans' Week 8 win over the Titans. Blue added a 22-yard catch. With the Texans clobbering the Titans late and Arian Foster having already piled up 173 yards and three touchdowns, Blue got plenty of run late...
Oct 26 4:11PM Read More
Ryan Fitzpatrick - QB
Ryan Fitzpatrick completed just 19-of-35 passes for 227 yards, one touchdown, and zero... Fitzpatrick was pretty bad for most of the day, begging to be picked off, but the Texans rode Arian Foster's legs to victory. Fitzpatrick's lone touchdown went to Foster on...
Oct 26 3:45PM Read More
Arian Foster - RB
Arian Foster rushed for 151 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries in the Texans' 30-16, Week 8... Foster managed just 36 yards on his first 10 carries, but broke a 34-yard touchdown and had no trouble finding holes in the Tennessee defense from there on. Foster caught a...
Oct 26 3:21PM Read More
Jadeveon Clowney - LB
Jadeveon Clowney (knee) is active for Week 8 against the Titans. Clowney will play on a "pitch count," likely in pass-rushing and third-down situations. Good luck with Clowney and J.J. Watt, Zach Mettenberger. Inactive for the...
Oct 26 10:34AM Read More
Jadeveon Clowney - LB
Texans OLB Jadeveon Clowney (knee) is likely to play against the Titans, but will be on a... "I thought what he did what he had to do this week," coach Bill O’Brien said. "I think he’s got a good shot to play on Sunday." Clowney has been...
Oct 25 9:13AM Read More

More Team Talk