It took a full five years for Joe Flacco to earn the respect among his peers.
Of course, when you win a Super Bowl, you immediately earn the kind of recognition bestowed among only a handful of quarterbacks to ever play the game. Once Flacco won that championship, a 34-31 win over San Francisco, his reputation changed from an OK quarterback to among the game's best.
Flacco seemed to thrive in the postseason under offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell, who took over those duties from Cam Cameron after he was fired near the end of the regular season.
Still, Flacco has never been a consistent regular season quarterback, even though he's reached the postseason five times in five years. Part of that can be attributed to Cameron's offense, which was run oriented and designed to attack teams vertically down the sideline. Flacco has failed to reach a completion percentage of 60 over the past two seasons, and looked out of sorts at times.
However, it was a Week 16 game against the New York Giants that saw a glimpse of what was to come in the postseason. In that game, a 33-14 Baltimore win, Flacco threw for 309 yards and two touchdowns. And of course, in the postseason Flacco threw for 1,140 yards and 11 touchdowns. In those four games, Flacco did not throw an interception.
Flacco took a leap in the postseason, one that might not have been expected given his mostly average regular season (317-531, 3,817, 22 touchdowns, 10 interceptions). But this regular season could see Flacco take an even further step, to situate himself among the top five passers in the NFL.
The rest of the group
Tyrod Taylor: Flacco's been such a durable quarterback that Taylor hasn't had to see any meaningful minutes under center in Baltimore. Taylor offers a bit of a different skill set, given his ability to run the ball when a play isn't there or if it breaks down. The Ravens have been high on Taylor since they drafted him in 2011.
Taylor did see time in last year's season finale against Cincinnati, when Baltimore rested its starters for the playoffs. Taylor finished 15-25 for 149 yards and an interception. He also added 65 rushing yards on nine carries and scored a touchdown. He's a different kind of quarterback, but one Baltimore thinks it can depend on if needed.
Caleb Hanie: The former Chicago Bears quarterback was acquired this offseason to compete with Taylor for the No. 2 job. However, coach John Harbaugh did say that he would be OK with keeping three quarterbacks if the situation called for it.
Hanie hasn't proved much yet, though he does have some valuable starting experience. In 2011, he had to start four games when Jay Cutler and Todd Collins were injured. He finished 51-102 for 613 yards, three touchdowns and nine interceptions.
Flacco: 331-530, 4,124 yards, 27 touchdowns, 11 interceptions.
Taylor: No meaningful snaps.
Hanie: Not on team.
Ravens pre-camp breakdown: Quarterback
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