One of the biggest plays of the Ravens season had a lot to do with the arm strength of quarterback Joe Flacco.
A quarterback with less of a rocket might not have been able to fire the ball 55 yards to Jacoby Jones over the top of the Broncos defense in the AFC playoffs and a miss on that play would have meant a different Super Bowl champion in New Orleans. It was such a good throw that Ron Jaworski of ESPN called it one of the best he’s ever seen and says he doesn’t think he’s seen another quarterback who could make it.
That’s a rather hyperbolic statement that’s hard to prove right or wrong, but Flacco’s arm strength is certainly impressive. Matt Vensel of the Baltimore Sun spoke to Jaworski, former Ravens offensive coordinator Cam Cameron and others to find out why Flacco’s able to air the ball out so effectively. Some of it is natural, but Flacco’s mechanics were cited each and every time as an essential part of the package.
“Joe has the God-given talent to throw the football,” Jaworski said. “Probably what people don’t look at is the complete set of mechanics that it takes to throw the football with that kind of velocity. He sticks his cleats into the ground. He drives off his back foot. He’s on balance, for the most part, on almost every throw. … When Joe has a clean pocket, his mechanics are outstanding.”
Cameron said Flacco had one of the two best pre-draft workouts he’s ever seen — Ben Roethlisberger had the other — and that the team did almost nothing to tweak his delivery once they selected him in the first round of the 2008 draft. A meeting with Tom House, a former baseball pitcher turned throwing coach who has tutored Tom Brady and others, led House to rave about Flacco’s throwing motion and there’s more where all of that came from in Vensel’s exploration of Flacco’s game.
It’s an interesting look at the balance between natural talent and the way players must work to maximize it as well as an encouraging one for Ravens fans that want to see more of last season’s Flacco in the years to come.