Editor's Note: With the offseason in full swing, the focus is now shifting to the 2016 season, where the Cowboys have one of the toughest schedules in the NFL. Not only do the Cowboys face five playoff teams but many of the top players in football. So the writers of DallasCowboys.com have ranked the Top 50 players expected to be on the field this season, including the Cowboys. Today, we continue the list with Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco.)
Experience: 8 seasons
What's the Deal:Flacco has long been one of the most-hotly debated quarterbacks in the NFL – the argument of whether or not he is "elite" has become a parody of itself in recent years. On one hand, his career numbers don't put him near the top of the list of active quarterbacks. He has completed just 61 percent of his passes for his career, with 162 total touchdowns to 102 interceptions. His career quarterback rating is a pedestrian 84.7. On the other hand, it's hard to argue with his results. Flacco has guided the Ravens to the playoffs in six of his eight seasons in the league, and he has racked up a 10-5 playoff record in the process. Most impressively, he guided Baltimore to its second Super Bowl championship in 2012. In four games during those playoffs, he threw for 1,140 yards, 11 touchdowns and no interceptions with a quarterback rating of 117. He won Super Bowl MVP in the process. To summarize, it's fair to say Joe Flacco is a notch below the very top quarterbacks in the NFL. It's also fair to say he's one of the league's most proven performers.
Expect This: Flacco didn't miss a start in the first seven years of his career, but he tore his ACL and MCL in a win against the Rams last November and missed the final six games of the season. The veteran signal-caller sat out of Baltimore's OTAs and minicamp this spring while he rehabbed the injury, but the expectation is that he'll be ready for the start of training camp. If Flacco is healthy, he'll be the glue that holds together an offense that added playmakers like Mike Wallace and rookie running back Kenneth Dixon during the offseason.
Previous Meetings:Given that the Ravens have never lost a game to the Cowboys in their franchise's short history, it's safe to say that Flacco's record against them is solid. This year's meeting on Nov. 20 will be just his third outing against Dallas. He played the Cowboys as a rookie in 2008, completing 17-of-25 passes for 149 yards and a touchdown in a 33-24 win. In 2012, he turned in a similar performance – 17-of-26 for 234 yards and one score – in the Ravens' wild 31-29 win at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.
Bryan Broaddus Scouting Report:
Flacco plays underneath center. Very competitive player and leader. Teammates rally around him.
Plays with intelligence. Smart. Doesn't make many mental mistakes. Will deliver the ball at all angles. His release is generally over the top but will drop down side arm for underneath passes.
I wouldn't say that his arm talent and strength are top shelf. There are snaps where you see his balls float. But he shows touch for screens and passes to the flat.
Accuracy can be good. Not afraid to throw the ball in tight windows. Nice accuracy when he throws the balls outside the numbers – but he could be more accurate under duress. He will hang in the pocket to make a throw – maybe too long. Good poise and awareness.
Shows vision to see the field. Will come back to receivers while in the pocket. Can process the info and get the ball out.
He shows the durability to hang in there and make the throws. Takes hits and comes back the next play. Nice pocket mechanics and mobility. For a tall guy, he can move well.
Strong guy to hang in there. Strong in the upper body. Mobility in the pocket. Play maker. Clutch in big games. Consistent in the way he plays. Is not up and down at all. Finds ways to get the job done.
The writers of DallasCowboys.com have ranked the Top 50 players expected to be on the field this season, including the Cowboys.