Late For Work 4/4: How Do You Want Joe Flacco To Respond?

Sources contradict Rice? Deadline to steal Webb coming, alternate jerseys to be revealed.

Posted by Sarah Ellison on Wednesday, April 4th, 2012 at 9:13 am | Categories: 2012 Offseason, Sarah Ellison

How Do You Want Flacco To Respond?

You’d be hard pressed NOT to find a national sports website that doesn’t have a headline this morning reading something like, “Flacco Thinks He’s ‘The Best’ QB.”

In yesterday’s Late For Work, I quoted Flacco’s response when asked if he thinks he’s a top-5 quarterback in the NFL. His answer has the sports world buzzing:

“Without a doubt [I'm in the top 5],” he said. “What do you expect me to say? I would assume everybody thinks they’re a top-5 quarterback. I think I’m the best. I don’t think I’m the top 5, I think I’m the best. I wouldn’t be very successful at my job if I didn’t feel that way. That doesn’t mean that things are going to work out that way. It just means that’s the way it is – that’s the way I feel that it is and that’s the way I feel it should be.”

I’m curious to know how Ravens fans would want Flacco to answer that question. There’s no shortage of advice below, but take the poll and tell us how you feel.

Nothing wrong with saying it: “There’s nothing wrong with Joe Flacco having great belief in himself,” said Brian Mitchell of SportsTalk Live. Eli [Manning, Giants QB] came out and said it, everybody laughed and he won the Super Bowl. If [Flacco] came out today and said, ‘You know what? I think I’m the 10th-best quarterback in the NFL,’ [he wouldn’t get paid.] My thing is there are 1,800 people in the NFL. If 1,800 does not believe that they are the absolute best at their position, you shouldn’t be in the league.”

Say it, but back it up: “You said it, so let’s see if you can back it up,” wrote ESPN’s Jamison Hensley. “Like Manning, Flacco was right to say it. No matter what you or I think, Flacco should believe he’s the best quarterback in the league.”

Believe it, but let others decide: “We understand the attitude, and the importance of confidence,” wrote’s Mike Florio. “But like Eli Manning’s characterization of himself as ‘elite’ in August 2011 (you know, before he went out and proved it), the better answer in these situations is something along the lines of, ‘That’s not for me to decide.  Those labels are determined by others.’”

Don’t say it:  “We know what you’re trying to say, Joe. We also know that you shouldn’t being saying it, Joe,” wrote  “So please, Joe. We beg you. Stop this madness. You’re not a top five quarterback. It’s okay. You’re still pretty good.”

Poll: How should Flacco respond to QB ranking questions?

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Sources Seem To Contradict Rice’s Statements

Running back Ray Rice hasn’t completely decided whether he will attend offseason workouts and training camp, but he did tell our own Garrett Downing that he “looks forward to being there.”

“Me and my agent have been going over things and what we’re going to do is figure out what’s best for us going forward,” Rice said. “We haven’t made a decision. As far as we know, we look forward to being [at offseason workouts]. Maybe it will be under some terms, whether I sign the tag or not. But I want to be there. I like to be around my guys.”

But while he said he is undecided, “sources close to the situation” told’s Aaron Wilson that Rice won’t report until he has a new contract.

Rice isn’t required to participate in any football activities – including regular-season games – until he signs a new deal or the franchise tender worth $7.442 million.

“Rice has been consistent in taking the high road when it comes to the negotiations, but sources emphasized that the versatile star runner has no plans to attend offseason workouts until a contract has been finalized,” wrote Wilson. “The Ravens have until July 15 to get a long-term deal done for Rice. Otherwise, he’ll play under the franchise tag this season.”

Deadline To Steal Webb Approaching

If another team wants to make a run at Ravens top cornerback Lardarius Webb, time is running out.

The league’s April 21 deadline to make an offer to a restricted free agent is just over two weeks away, and other than media speculation, there has been no sign of a team planning to do so with Webb.

While there is “still time for drama” writes’s John Eisenberg, the “likely scenario at this point” is that Webb remains in Baltimore.

With the NFL dropping the “super-tender” option – giving up a first and third round pick –  speculation about Webb being plucked from Baltimore sparked. Eisenberg believed it would make sense for the New England Patriots, who are picking near the bottom of the first round, to offer Webb a front-loaded deal that the cap-strapped Ravens couldn’t match.

“But Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome pooh-poohed the scenario from the outset, suggesting teams value draft picks too much to give them away like that,” wrote Eisenberg. Of course, while smart teams do value picks, not all teams are smart.

“So far, though Newsome’s instincts have been correct. Instead of losing Webb, a more likely scenario is for the Ravens to lock him up to a long-term deal, taking him out of the running to be an unrestricted free agent after next season.”

Ravens Players React To New Jerseys

Not all Ravens players have had the chance to see the new Nike Ravens jerseys, but here are a few known reactions so far:

Safety Bernard Pollard: “I hadn’t seen the new unis until just now,” he said during Ravens Chat Live with fans on “Why did they let Nike take over? That is horrendous! We look like robots. Was it space balls? No, Starship Troopers when they play football. We look like the football team from Starship Troopers!!! So, no I don’t like them.”

Receiver Torrey Smith: “Everyone is so excited about seeing the new jerseys…when they see them they are gonna be like… ‘oh that’s it’ haha.”

Webb: “Don’t see to much difference in ours!”

And Rice reacts at the unveiling event in New York in the video below.

Will Alternate Uniforms Have More Dramatic Change?

The only team that revealed their alternate jersey at the Nike unveiling yesterday was the Seattle Seahawks.

The other 31 teams, including the Ravens, have yet to show off their alternate designs and a league spokesman told that there is “no timetable” for the announcement. The individual teams will decide when and how they want to reveal their alternates.

Apparently the Steelers have acknowledged possible changes to theirs.

The most popular Ravens alternate uniform is the “blackout” look, in which players sport an all-black look from head to toe. They have also worn a purple jersey with black pants as an alternate look. Whether there will be any major changes to the Ravens’ alternates remains to be seen.

“Making the prospect of alternate uniforms more intriguing is the reality that more than a few teams use not only a third jersey but also a second helmet,” wrote Florio. “For some, it’s an opportunity to turn the clock back.  Now that Nike is involved, other teams could choose to fast forward to a more futuristic look.”

Quick Hits

  • This is the final day you can vote for Rice in the “Madden NFL 13” cover race. Rice has retaken the lead over Saints quarterback Drew Brees in a back-and-forth matchup.  As of yesterday at noon, Rice had slight lead, 50.3 percent to 49.7. That’s less than a 2,000-vote lead heading into the final day. [ESPN]
  • “An intriguing question regarding Rice and [Matt] Forte must be asked: Is their impressive workload and high production helping their drives for long-term contracts or, because of the subsequent wear and tear, hurting their causes?” wrote Andrew Brandt. “My sense is the Ravens and Bears would be willing to commit to the level of contract [Marshawn] Lynch and [Arian] Foster commanded. But if Rice and Forte are intent on reaching the level of the Johnson and Peterson deals, the tag might persist. … Of course, there’s a lot of room between $21 million and $30 million guaranteed, which means there’s plenty of room for negotiation. Stay tuned.” [ESPN]
  • If the Ravens are targeting either a wide receiver or a safety in the first two rounds of the draft, here are some prospects from each position. []
  • A look at the eight draft prospects the Ravens either have already worked out or plan to work out soon. []

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