Friday, September 24, 2010

No doubt about it, Harbaugh should have yanked Flacco!


Joe Flacco's ineptitude last Sunday against the Bengals has been the dominant topic of websites and sports talk radio across the Land of Pleasant Living.

Early on the "Bench Flacco" lunatics were in full force but as the week progressed and decompression amongst fans set in, such irrational panic driven opinions slowly made their way to their proper burial grounds.

Our poll question on Ravens24x7.com from Sunday through Thursday asked, "Obviously struggling, should John Harbaugh have pulled Joe Flacco against the Bengals in favor of Mark Bulger?"Early on "yes" had a comfortable lead over "no." But as the week wore on Ravens fans cut No. 5 a little slack and in the end, 57% answered "no."

Well guess what? Fifty-seven percent were WRONG!

Flacco should have been benched.

No not permanently but at least during the fourth quarter.

And don't sit there and suggest that this isn't baseball and that you can't yank your starting quarterback in the same manner that Buck Showalter yanks Kevin Millwood in the fifth inning after serving up puss to opposing hitters.

Why not?

Why couldn't John Harbaugh go to Flacco and say, "Look Joe, you just don't have it today. In fact over the last 3 outings against the Bengals, you haven't had it. We'll study the game tape, break it down and figure it out. But for now, I'm going to let Marc Bulger take a shot at these guys and tomorrow we'll start getting you ready for the Browns."

What is wrong with that?

Wouldn't the call for Bulger have improved the Ravens' chances on Sunday? Didn't Ozzie Newsome decide to bring Bulger to Baltimore for $3.8 million in order to be a competent back up - to spell Flacco when no one told him there'd be days like these?

Oh so you say that pulling Flacco would undermine his confidence going forward, eh?

To borrow from Chad Ochocinco, "Child please!"

If your starting quarterback has his little feelings hurt because he was pulled out when he stunk up the Ohio River area, is he really the franchise quarterback that you want to build your team around?

Do you think your team's future poster child is going to sulk when a little adversity sets in? And if so do you want a mentally soft guy like that guiding your team's future?

Look I've never approached the level of a professional when it comes to athletics but I can tell you this...if I were benched I'd be embarrassed and determined never to let it happen again. And if in the process of that lesson my team actually won AND I'm now more determined, well double plus for the good guys then, right?

I don't think Flacco is soft mentally despite the regular comparisons of him to a deer in headlights (which on Sunday was an insult to the deer). And I do think that given his mental make-up and Harbaugh's management skills (see how Willis McGahee responded to his stay in the Harbaugh doghouse) everything would have been just fine if Flacco was taken out and then, just maybe the Ravens are now staring at 2-0 instead of 1-1.

Maybe that quick release of Bulger's was the answer to the Bengals pass rush and closing skills of their DB's.But we'll never know.

All is not lost. Harbaugh probably learned from his reluctance to give Flacco the hook and maybe next time his starting QB struggles immensely, his trigger finger will be a bit more twitchy.

Like say, against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Just sayin'...

8 comments :

Jerry B said...

Couldn't disagree more, TL. Much too early for such a drastic move, unless, of course, you want to destroy your young QB's confidence. No doubt Flacco has regressed, but so has the entire offense, thanks to Cameron's completely abandoning the successful formula employed in Flacco's rookie year that featured a powerful running game and efficient passing game and saw them go 11-5 in the regular season and one game shy of the Super Bowl. They also "messed" with Flacco's mechanics in the offseason and have an "O" line that's struggling in protection. So, before I'd change QBs, I'd change the offense back to what worked in the past. Then, if he continues to struggle they can make the change......

Harryos29 said...

HarryOS29 Sept 24th
I agree: Flacco is not in JOHNNY UNITAS' status yet. I would have made a change, just for change sake! Joe was having a KYLE Boller game, where he was confused about the color of the uniforms of the guys he was suppose to throw to.
..However, with that said...IMHO when PAC MAN JONES Picked that pass in front of BOLDIN, the only way he was able to do that...was by grabbing onto and holding # 81's Jersey for 6 yards before the pass got there. Joe was throwing to a SPOT: and all things being equal....Boldin would have been there had he not been fouled. I cannot blame Flacco for that one. HOW did the REFS see Suggs make a Clean hit on PALMER...yet they could not see # 24 with big hands full of Jersey from # 81? Maybe the Refs were on a MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR?

Tony Lombardi said...

Jerry,

I've read where you believe that Flacco was sent to work with coaches to improve accuracy and mechanics in the offseason and how you think the Ravens are making a statement by paying Bulger more than Flacco.

The truth is Flacco was sent to work with baseball pitching instructors not to improve accuracy or tinker with mechanics but instead to study ways to strengthen his arm, protect it from injury and extend its professional shelf life.

As for Flacco's earnings, he made roughly $8.5 million last year by achieving certain incentives. This year he'll get a minimum of $2.7 M plus incentives.

And sorry, if Flacco confidence is shattered because he stunk in one game, is that really the guy you want to hang your hat on for the future? I'd prefer a guy who uses the setback and benching as I sign to dig a little deeper and prove someone wrong instead of sucking his thumb and throwing a pity party.

But maybe that's just me...

Daniel said...

Tony,
I hope you have another job lined up because if you write another article bashing Joe Flacco I will make sure your career is finished, I promise you that. Maybe I'll finish you myself if you know what I mean.

Tony Lombardi said...

@ Daniel...

Is it bashing if it's the truth? The first article recited statistics against quality opponents. I didn't make them up but used them to make a point that for the Ravens to succeed the way you and I both want, he needs to do better against playoff caliber opponents. That article also pointed out other things that are pretty obvious about Joe the Quarterback:

1. Poor footwork
2. No checkdowns at LOS
3. Little variance in his cadence


The second article suggests that I prefer a quarterback who is mentally tough and that coaching decisions should have the team's best interests in mind. Do you want a hyper sensitive guy as your franchise QB? Your tough talk suggests not.

Maybe it's your emotion, maybe it's your passion for the Ravens, maybe you have a Joe Flacco Fathead on your bedroom wall next to a poster of the cast of The View...

And just maybe one or all of the above serves as a blinder(s) for you and you read what you want to read.

Try reading both blogs again with an open mind and then tell me you don't agree. If you care about the Ravens like I do, you will.

I think...

Jerry B said...

The point, TL, is that it's more than just Flacco! Our receivers continue to have trouble getting open, while Mark Clayton becomes the Rams and one of the league's leading receivers after being with them 3 weeks, and with a rookie QB! The "O" line is struggling with protection, which is what got Bulger killed in St. Louis and the game plans and play calling continue to be suspect. And, yes, you have to be careful with a young QB's confidence, particularly one who played so sparingly in preseason and is still adjusting to new receivers. My understanding was that one of the reasons Flacco was sent to study with the pitching coach was to improve on his accuracy - at least that's what was reported at the time. Since when did "arm strength" ever become an issue with him? Oh, and one more observation, it wouldn't surprise me if he may have hurt his throwing arm/shoulder in that crushing sack he took on the first passing play in New York. He appeared to continuously "rub" his right arm and shoulder on the sidelines last week. On a personal note, we must be careful not to confuse "opinions" with "truth" or "facts"......

Tony Lombardi said...

Jerry,

I was told why Joe went to California contrary to the common misconception that is out there about the reasons. Strengthening the arm doesn't mean throwing better...in this case it is intended to build endurance not adding MPH to the fastball.

Not sure what the personal note means but I used statistics (facts) to support opinions.

Jerry B said...

Statistics notwithstanding, the entire "Blog" was based on your "opinion" that Harbaugh should have "yanked" Flacco.....