Cosell On How Flacco Can Become ‘Great’

NFL Films guru Greg Cosell thinks Joe Flacco can be great by improving his pre-snap reads.

Posted by Mike Duffy on Wednesday, June 15th, 2011 at 5:00 pm | Categories: Mike Duffy

Greg Cosell, executive producer of the popular ESPN show NFL Matchup and longtime NFL Films expert, thinks Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco is already one of the league’s best at finding receivers near the sidelines.
But Cosell also believes Flacco can join the elite class of passers if he improves his pre-snap reads.
“I think an area where he absolutely must improve in – and I’m just giving my opinion – is to get better before the snap of the ball,” Cosell told  “I think that’s become a central element to becoming a great quarterback. I don’t use that term loosely.”
Cosell went on to explain how defenses in today’s NFL offer so many looks before the center/quarterback exchange ever happens that signal-callers have an unprecedented challenge as they approach the line of scrimmage.
“There’s two distinct phases, pre-snap and post-snap,” said Cosell.  “With what defenses do – particularly when you’re in your three-wide sets and the defense has their nickel and dime sets in the game – there is so much in terms of personnel packages, movement before the snap, who’s rushing and who’s not rushing.
“That’s an area where he needs to improve.”
Still, Cosell thinks criticism of Flacco is largely unwarranted.
Flacco is coming off a career season, setting personal bests in passing yards (3,622), touchdowns (25) and quarterback rating (93.6).  Many of those yards came on deadly out routes to wideouts Anquan Boldin and Derrick Mason.
“I think that he’s a terrific passer outside the numbers,” Cosell said.  “He may be the best passer in the league throwing the ball outside the numbers.”
Team-wise, Flacco also stepped up by leading the Ravens to the playoffs for the third-consecutive year.
Flacco’s winning percentage merits more credit than he typically receives. 
“It’s funny the perception, because [New York Jets quarterback] Mark Sanchez is now [considered] a winner,” Cosell mused.  “He is raved about, and yet Joe Flacco has played in more games and won more playoff games than any quarterback who’s played in the league for three years.  All of the sudden, he’s not really good? 
“This is separate from what he is or isn’t as a quarterback, but I just don’t understand the concept.”

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