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Late For Work 7/4: Who’s Better: Joe Flacco Or Matt Ryan?

Best Ravens camp battle. Which AFC North team won’t make the playoffs next year?

Posted by Ryan Mink on Wednesday, July 4th, 2012 at 9:53 am | Categories: Late For Work, Ryan Mink

Who’s Better: Joe Flacco Or Matt Ryan?

Ron Jaworski’s ranking of Joe Flacco as the ninth-best (and strongest-armed) quarterback in the league stirred up reaction from both fans and the media.

One argument that’s gained traction once again is who’s better between Flacco, the 18th-overall pick in the 2008 draft, or Ryan, the third-overall pick.

Flacco was ninth on Jaworski’s list while Ryan was 11th.

NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks put together a detailed comparison of the two quarterbacks. Here’s what he came up with:

Flacco wins on arm talent: “Flacco is a gifted passer with extraordinary physical tools. He boasts one of the strongest arms in the NFL, routinely delivering balls with exceptional zip and velocity. Combine this with pinpoint accuracy, and Flacco is able to fit balls into tight windows between multiple defenders.”

Flacco also wins on athleticism: “Flacco is an underrated athlete with uncommon movement skills for a big man (6-foot-6, 245 pounds).”

Ryan won in game management: “Flacco is an efficient game manager in his own right. He routinely avoids the big mistake in the pocket and his ability to keep the Ravens offense on schedule allows them to take advantage of scoring opportunities created by an aggressive defense.”

They tied on leadership: “Flacco’s leadership role is overshadowed by the presence of the Ravens’ veteran defensive core of Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and Terrell Suggs. However, he has started to assert himself over the past few seasons and the offense has responded favorably to his leadership style.”

Ryan won in the clutch factor: “Flacco has been solid in the clutch, as well. He has directed 11 game-winning drives in four seasons, including six fourth-quarter comebacks, showing tremendous growth as a clutch player.”

Overall, Brooks said he’d take Ryan over Flacco, but said the debate is “as close as you will find in pro football.”

“Both players have won at a high level as young quarterbacks, and their consistent play has helped their respective franchises contend on an annual basis,” Brooks said. “I would rather have Ryan as my quarterback due to his ability to run the offense from the line of scrimmage and his history of engineering fourth-quarter comebacks. While I certainly recognize his playoff failures, I believe he is the more consistent playmaker and game manager, which gives him the nod in my mind.”

What do you think?

Also, Gregg Rosenthal waded into the strongest arm debate. He said putting Flacco as the strongest-arm quarterback is a “bold statement and one that is backed up by a ton of research.” Rosenthal has Flacco, Matthew Stafford, Michael Vick, Jay Cutler and Cam Newton on his list of top-five arms.

Best Ravens Training Camp Battle

Over the past week or so, Garrett and I have been running through all the competitions set to take place during training camp.

So which is the best?

ESPN blogger Jamison Hensley points to the one at cornerback between Jimmy Smith and Cary Williams for the No. 2 cornerback position.

Smith is the Ravens’ 2011 first-round pick who began his rookie campaign by injuring his ankle on the opening kickoff. That gave Williams, who was already slated to be the starter, the avenue to blossom and he never relinquished his spot. Williams was the team’s third-leading tackler (77) and second in passes broken up (18).

“Now, the roles are reversed,” Hensley wrote. “Williams couldn’t participate in team drills this spring after having hip surgery, which provided the opening for Smith to work with the starting defense all offseason.”

Smith came back to play in 12 games and start three last season. He notched three interceptions (including one in the AFC championship) while Williams didn’t snag one.

So what’s Hensley’s prediction?

“It looks like this is Smith’s job to lose in training camp,” he said. “The 2011 first-round pick has prototypical size and speed to be a shutdown cornerback in this league. Williams, though, has surprised before.”

Which AFC North Team Ain’t Making The Playoffs?

The AFC North had three playoff teams last season, a rare feat.

But one of them is likely not to make it this year. Who will it be?

Dating back to 1996, at least five teams have qualified for the playoffs that missed the postseason before. That means five teams that were in the year before were out the next.

Fans voted, and they don’t think the Ravens will suffer that fate.

Instead, the Bengals take the cake with 53 percent while the Ravens and Steelers are almost in a dead heat with 24 and 23 percent of the votes, respectively.

The Bengals haven’t put together back-to-back winning seasons since 1981-82. The Ravens have made it four years straight, the only team in the NFL to do so.

ESPN pundits Damien Woody and Marcellus Wiley agree with the fans. Hensley says he likes the Bengals’ chances of returning, but didn’t specify if he thought the Ravens or Steelers would be out.

No Leader In Running Back Competition

Speaking of good position battles, the one for the No. 2 running back spot is also a dandy.

There’s rookie third-round pick Bernard Pierce vs. Anthony Allen vs. Damien Berry.

And after Organized Team Activities and minicamp, there isn’t a clear leader yet, says the Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson.

“Although all had their moments during spring minicamps and organized team activities and Allen took the greater portion of the workload with the first-team offense in Rice’s absence, no one has separated himself from the pack yet,” he wrote.

This competition will heat up in training camp once the pads are on and hitting begins.

No Love For Ravens-Steelers?

When NFL.com put out a list of 2012 games that should be considered a national holiday (in observance of the 4th of July), I was just scrolling waiting to see Ravens-Steelers.

Wait a second…

Tom Brady’s Patriots versus Peyton Manning’s Broncos on Oct. 7 got three of seven votes, and there wasn’t a single one for the Ravens-Steelers, who play on Nov. 18 and Dec. 2.

Do we have to drum up the best rivalry in the NFL debate again?

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