Joe Flacco (pictured above) and the Ravens gutted out a major Week 1 victory on the road against the highly touted New York Jets. Will Flacco play better next week against AFC North rival, Cincinnati?
At the end of Week 1 the Pick’em challenge scoreboard reads:
TheSportsKraze: 8 CV3: 9 (realize Chad picked the Ravens to win by 1 last night)
The marquee matchup of this Week 1 of football was the Monday Night Showdown in New York between two big time contenders in the AFC, the Jets and the Ravens. Both of these teams are considered favorites not only within their respective divisions, but in the conference as a whole. Each team had outstanding off seasons, bringing in key acquisitions to squads that already made the playoffs last year. The Jets picked up Antonio Cromartie, LT, and Jason Taylor. While the Ravens brought in two big time receivers in TJ Houshmandzadeh and Anquan Boldin. There is one major concern though in my eyes that could hold both of these teams back from Super Bowl glory…
Isn’t there a show called Monday NFL Quarterback? Last night was not an example.
Mark Sanchez was absolutely horrific last evening. Now I realize the Jets are generally a run first team. A team that likes to play old school, smash mouth football. Winning games with a strong rushing attack and superb defense. And that is fine, even though the League is in the midst of the pass happy era. A team could still win with an average passing game if they had a superb defense and rushing attack. Well the Jets without question have the tools defensively. I mean wow did they put on a show last night. But how about the former USC Trojan in the pocket?
Sanchez went 10 for 21 for 74 yards. This is not pee wee football. This is the NFL. A quarterback should be throwing for nearly 74 yards a quarter. Now I realize that he was playing against the vaunted Ravens defense and all of jazz. But Mr. GQ was playing in front of a big time home crowd with many weapons at his disposal such as Jerricho Cotchery, Braylon Edwards, LaDainian Tomlinson, and Shonn Greene. He also has former Steelers number 1 receiver, Santonio Holmes at his disposal (hopefully soon). Also, I realize that Mark is still just in his 2nd year. Maybe he could be entering the Sophomore slump? Well not really, considering he did not have a big time rookie year, so it would not be considered a slump. My one major suggestion for Sanchez is to start throwing to his tight ends more. I realize that Dustin Keller let him down on last night’s big 4th down play late in the 4th quarter in one of the most bonehead plays I have ever seen. But give the guy a break. He had just been summoned by Ray Lewis, the ultimate hitmaker. A reliable tight end is a young quarterback’s best friend. Sanchez better improve fast, or this team will not have a prayer at making a run deep into the playoffs. They will be able to survive on their defense in most games, but against tough contenders like the Ravens, Sanchez will have to perform better than last night.
Now speaking of young quarterbacks. The Ravens have a young gun of their own at the helm in Joe Flacco. Now I will admit, I was thoroughly disappointed by the former Delaware stud last evening. When you look at Joe, you just feel like he has the look of a big time NFL quarterback. He possesses that big time NFL “swagger,” for lack of a better term, which is so hard to explain to somebody who is not a fan of the game. Last night, Flacco went 20 of 38 (which isn’t horrible), for 248 yards. He did throw an interception as well. Now, by no means, was Flacco as bad as Sanchez. But I along with most football fans hold higher expectations for Joe. We expect him to do more out there each week than Sanchez. Partially because he has to with an aging Ravens defensive core. And in all seriousness, this guy has arguably the most weapons around him of any QB in the League. He has 2 big play receivers in a Anquan Boldin (now a big play guy and no longer a possession) and Derrick Mason. He has the 2nd best possession receiver in the game at his disposal in TJ Houshmandzadeh (after Wes Welker). Todd Heap is a very seasoned tight end who has always been a major threat in the passing attack. Plus he has a monster 3 headed rushing attack to fall back on in Rice, McGahee, and McClain. The guy has no excuses. And sure his team escaped last night against a very tough team on the road. For this team to make a Super Bowl run, he will have to play much better. I recommend Flacco develops a deep bond with his new possession guy in TJ Houshmandzadeh and continues to work on his chemistry with tight end Todd Heap.
Both of these quarterbacks have the luxury of playing on teams with big time defenses and solid rushing attacks. But in today’s game, you have to at least demonstrate a mediocre passing attack to advance deep into the playoffs. Who would you rather have at QB, Flacco or Sanchez? Which of these teams could make a run to the big game?
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.