While there is no doubt that football teams are well-oiled machines and only strongest as their weakest link, it is also critical to mention that the quarterback often plays a central role in determining the difference between success and failure. This observation has recently hit home for both the Baltimore Ravens and the Denver Broncos thanks to an upcoming transfer of quarterback Joe Flacco. However, there is a bit more than meets the eye here. Many analysts believe that the Ravens could be better off without this well-known MVP and that the Broncos might actually perform worse with this new addition.
In order to appreciate these rather surprising observations, it is first important to fully understand the iconic role of the quarterback before relating this title back to Joe Flacco and the Ravens as a whole.Why are Quarterbacks the Centre of Any Team?The most obvious answer to this question is that they are primarily involved with "calling the shots" and ensuring that passes are completed when the game is down to the wire. However, it is just as critical to remember the psychological role that these members play within the team. They are ultimately responsible for the cohesion between and offence and the defence; often differentiating between a dismal performance and a stellar season. Unfortunately, both teams and management can begin to lose confidence in their quarterback during certain circumstances.
This sentiment can act as a cancer which eats away at team morale and most importantly, performance levels when the going gets tough. So, how does this all relate back to Joe Flacco, the Ravens and the Broncos?A Quick Look at Joe FlaccoJoe Flacco is one of the most well-respected names in football and his track record pays testament to his attitude over the years. Born Joseph Vincent Flacco, this quarterback is currently 34 years old and stands at a height of six feet and six inches. In other words, he is relatively large for a player of his position.Flacco was originally drafted to the Ravens in 2003 and since this time, he has completed no fewer than 212 touchdowns (along with 136 interceptions).
Thus, his all-time passer standings are currently rated at 84.1He also holds six playoffs underneath his belt as well as a Superbowl victory in 2012.Over the years, Flacco gained the reputation as being the dependable quarterback that the Baltimore Ravens had been lacking; earning the respect of both players and management alike.Superbowl XLVII and MVP StatusNo one would argue that the highlight of Mr. Flacco's career (up until this point) was being rated as the most valuable player of Superbowl XLVII. This is due in no small fact that their opponents (the 49ers) boasted an extremely strong defensive line thanks to the presence of iconic names such as Ed Reed and Ray Lewis. The Ravens took the championship with a score of 34-31 and this was largely due to Flacco's efforts.
During the game, he threw for 287 yards and scored three touchdowns; resulting in a rating of 124.2. Unfortunately, it seems as if all good things come to an end.When Did Luck Begin to Change for Joe Flacco?The first thing that we need to take into account is his age. While he is by no means considered to be "old" at 34 years, there are many younger quarterbacks who simply possess more resilience and speed. Age could also be one of the reasons why Flacco's career has been partially defined by injuries in recent times.
The 2021 season is a perfect example, as he started a mere nine games and threw for only 2,465 yards. Still, many feel that his waning performance can be traced back to the 2021 season when the Ravens as a team failed to meet the mark in terms of scoring as well as rankings.A hip injury during the 2021 season seems to have begun to seal the fate of Flacco in regards to his relationship with the Baltimore Ravens. Notwithstanding the statistics mentioned in the previous paragraph, this injury could very well have been the turning point when "new blood" was required in order to reinvigorate the Ravens as a cohesive football force. Hence, we saw the entrance of rookie Lamar Jackson.
While this newcomer certainly lacked the experience that only years of playing can breed, he still ended the season with an impressive six wins and one loss. This obviously forced the Ravens staff to finally concede that it might have been time for Flacco to depart. Although Flacco was still a fan favourite, the fact of the matter is that the Ravens simply needed an extra level of momentum that the ageing quarterback did not seem to be able to provide.The Relationship Between Flacco and JacksonNot only is Flacco thought to be one of the best Ravens quarterbacks of all time, but he is also well respected due to his personal character. He has consistently stood behind his rookie counterpart and even offered support during the few times when Jackson's efforts seemed to be flagging.
So, it only stands to reason that "Joe Cool" has been Flacco's nickname for some time.In other words, there does not seem to be any type of personal or professional conflict between the two players. We can only speculate that this is a direct result of Flacco's overall experience within the sport. We also have to wonder if even he is finally realising that it is time for a change. The other main question is whether or not Jackson will be ready to fill the rather large shoes that have been placed before him.
This brings us to the main point of the article. How have the Superbowl odds changed since the news that Flacco could be traded to the Broncos? Let's take a closer look at the mechanics involved, how the Ravens will fare and why the Broncos might actually suffer as a result.What Might we See from the Ravens in the Near Future?The first question is whether or not Lamar Jackson will perform better than Flacco. This is difficult to tell, as no one really knows how he will react while in a tight spot. It is also important to mention that Jackson has endured some rocky patches in the past; particularly during a short spell when he was plagued with a passer rating of zero.
Although some have cited a noticeably high number of interceptions as a sign of his inaccuracy, Jackson has also surprised fans and critics alike with stunning plays on occasion.Age also plays an important role. At 22 years old, he is a full 12 years younger than Flacco. This decreases the likelihood of any serious injuries and he is also known for its leg speed while playing the backfield. So, Jackson could be an unpredictable quarterback and this might very well be all that the Ravens need to take their game to the next level.
The biggest quandary is if Jackson will have the leadership capabilities of Flacco and if the team will be able to amalgamate under his guidance. Only time will tell.What About the Broncos and Their Quarterback?It is worth pointing out that Case Keenum is the present quarterback for the Denver Broncos. Although many feel that he has been a lacklustre player in recent times, we need to remember that he is still guaranteed $7 million dollars from his base salary. This will likely make him extremely reluctant to be traded.
However, the fact of the matter is that Keenum will only be allowed to stay if he agrees to a pay cut (and this is not likely to happen). The other option is for Denver to release him from his existing contract and pay the remaining $7 million dollars.So, we now need to address the question of whether Flacco will start for the Broncos. All signs seem to say yes, as it has been reported that management is already shopping around for offers in regards to Keenum. Such a move actually makes a good deal of sense, as Keenum is 30 years old and thought to be slightly past his prime by some analysts.How Has the Flacco News Affected the Broncos Superbowl Odds?Before moving on to examining how the Ravens may fare without the presence of Joe Flacco, it is just as important to mention the fact that the odds of the Broncos participating in the Superbowl have lowered since the news of the trade.
Why is this the case?There is no single answer for such an observation. Some might be concerned about the possibility of Flacco repeating the recent performances associated with his tenure with the Ravens. Others could be worried about his age and the chances that he will injure his hip again. There is also the fact that such a change will inevitably shake the confidence of some fans.
This is why the sceptics seem to be taking centre stage. However, it should still be pointed out that anything is possible. If "Joe Cool" is able to bring his trademark talent to the table, the Broncos could very well receive a much-needed boost.Predictions for the RavensWhile the trade of Joe Flacco might have stirred the proverbial pot, there is still no doubt that the Baltimore Ravens look good for 2021. There are several variables to take into account when examining this argument.
While we have already mentioned the possibility of Jackson stepping up to the proverbial plate, what other factors come into play?We should first look at their recent rookie contracts. The Ravens have signed four draft picks to their roster; two of which are likely to make waves. Perhaps the most impressive is running back Justice Hill who is currently known for the fastest 40-yard dash in the sport. Fourth-round draft pick Ben Powers is also likely to be given the guard position; a great role considering his fiery and confident attitude.However, there are other prospects which should be closely watched in the coming season.
Chris Lindstrom is very fast and nimble for his size; both traits possibly equating to a formidable outside line. Wide receiver D.K. Metcalf is another strong figure, as he is known for amazingly long strides as well as his ability to handle the ball during long passes. WR Kelvin Harmon is considered to be one of the best in the league today; clearly evident by his second season of more than 1,000 yards.
Linebacker Devin White is a final prospect to carefully watch, as he could be a great addition for the middle defensive line. The big question is whether or not the Ravens can capitalise upon such possibilities.Putting it All TogetherThere is no doubt that the departure of Joe Flacco will cause some waves within the Ravens franchise. However, it is also a well-known fact that there comes a time when seasoned quarterbacks are no longer able to perform at their peak. Flacco has been in the game for quite a long time and all good things must come to an end.
Whether fans like it or hate it, the Ravens are now Jackson's team.New blood is often required in order to increase the momentum of any football team and the Ravens certainly seem to be in line for some great choices and possibilities throughout the 2021 season. If Lamar Jackson can step up to the plate and if the Ravens are able to truly leverage the power of their draft picks, the sky is the limit. Still, management needs to make it a point to embrace Jackson as a team leader in order to smooth over the ultimate transition. Anything can happen in football and we could very well see a repeat of the 2012 season if the Ravens play their cards right.
As the expression goes, only time will tell.