The Ravens gave quarterback Joe Flacco a fat new contract this offseason that made him considerably wealthier while also increasing the pressure on him on the football field.
Flacco had a brilliant run during the postseason, throwing 11 touchdowns and no interceptions in four games as the Ravens won the Super Bowl. It was a big step up from the uneven play of past seasons and the contract extension he signed established that high level play as the expected one for the coming years. And Flacco will have to do that without Anquan Boldin and Dennis Pitta, which could raise stress levels even higher.
According to the players squaring off against Flacco in practice, just the opposite has been true. Flacco has been talking trash with members of the Baltimore defense, something that cornerback Lardarius Webb chalks up to Flacco being “more comfortable” this season while nose tackle Haloti Ngata sees the quarterback as “chill” while leading the offense. Linebacker Terrell Suggs agrees with both assessments.
“He’s shown that he’s always going to be ‘Cool Joe,'” Suggs said, via the team’s website. “Now he’s comfortable in his own skin that he can bark at the defensive guys.”
Flacco’s been sounding plenty confident on his own as well, which is pretty much what you’d expect from a player who just put the enormous feather in his cap that is a Super Bowl title. Those traits should stick around into the season and having a leader like that should make it easier for the Ravens to deal with their losses on offense.