Ray Lewis: Flacco can't carry offense

November, 25, 2013
11/25/13
12:40
AM ET
Ray Lewis hasn't pulled any punches during his short time as an ESPN analyst. He questioned the Baltimore Ravens' leadership earlier this season, and now he's taking aim at quarterback Joe Flacco.

This is what Lewis said during ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown, which aired before the Ravens' 19-3 victory against the New York Jets:

“There’s no real balance that [the] Baltimore Ravens have right now and they want to make Joe Flacco -- they gave him $100 million, I understand that -- they want to make Joe Flacco a Tom Brady or Peyton Manning. He’s not that type of guy. He’s a system type of guy that if you have the balance -- that you have running the ball, doing the things you need to do -- then Joe Flacco excels.”

Obviously, there's a level of productivity that comes with paying a quarterback over $100 million and Flacco (14 touchdowns and 14 interceptions) has not lived up to expectations. I just don't think the Ravens envisioned Flacco becoming the next Tom Brady or Peyton Manning.

The Ravens paid Flacco for a couple of reasons: he earned the contract after being the Most Valuable Player of the Super Bowl and other teams would've given him that money if the Ravens opted not to do so. It was simply the going rate for a championship quarterback.

I do agree with Lewis that Flacco needs to have a solid supporting cast. A consistent running game sets up the play-action pass, which is Flacco's strength.

Let's also don't overlook the fact that Flacco lacks the same pass protection as Brady and Manning. If you're getting hit like Flacco, it doesn't matter what you pay that quarterback. He's not going to produce.

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter

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