Cries for ‘Camp Flacco’ could be louder than ever. Michael Crabtree is really good at running comeback routes. Congratulations to the Orioles for their thrilling walk-off home run to win Opening Day. Adam Jones is a stud.
Joe Flacco Developing Chemistry With New Receivers Is ‘Critically Important’
The byproduct of completely overhauling the receiver corps in the Ravens’ 29th-ranked passing game is quarterback Joe Flacco must start all over with a brand-new arsenal.
Flacco and his new crew will have miniscule time to get on the same page when compared to some of the other quarterback-receiver connections in the conference that already have built-in chemistry.
The Pittsburgh Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown have been together for eight years. The New England Patriots’ Tom Brady and Julian Edelman have also been connecting for eight years. The Cincinnati Bengals’ Andy Dalton has been throwing to A.J. Green for seven.
Meanwhile, Flacco has never thrown a pass to his top two targets Michael Crabtree and John Brown. And he doesn’t even know who his pass-catching tight end will be, or some of the other receivers the Ravens still plan on bringing in through the draft and free agency.
Developing chemistry, and doing it quickly, will be a top priority.
“I mean, that’s like the most important thing that we have to do right now,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said Tuesday from the annual NFL League Meetings. “Everything’s important, but getting our passing game right, taking these guys that we’re bringing in, this room that we’ve rebuilt, and them and Joe building precision into the passing game is critically important.
“How hard did they work at it? Before practice, after practice, in the offseason. We’ve heard all those stories. That’s what it takes. For Joe to have those guys, and to get with those guys, that’s what we expect.”
The Ravens’ receptions leader from last year? Gone. Benjamin Watson signed with the New Orleans Saints.
The Ravens’ receiving yards leader? Gone. Mike Wallace signed with the Philadelphia Eagles. Jeremy Maclin isn’t coming back, and it doesn’t appear Michael Campanaro will either.
According to Pro Football Focus (PFF), the players no longer on the roster combined for 313 targets last year, which is the most “unaccounted for targets” in the NFL.
That’s why Harbaugh emphasized reps, reps, reps for Flacco and his new receivers. He anticipates they will all be active participants in Organized Team Activities (OTAs) and training camp.
“[The reps are] the most important thing of all,” he said. “You have to practice. It’s a practice sport. You have to get good. You can’t just roll the ball out there and be great, especially in the passing game. … But with those guys getting the reps and getting really good at what they do, and even beyond that, let’s go to work outside of practice and build that rapport.”
As Harbaugh was talking with reporters, it was clear he was excited about how much the passing game can improve.
And it’s not just because they’re re-making…