Flacco fully healthy, ready to quiet critics

Veteran quarterback had stellar training camp

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Few quarterbacks have been more polarizing than Joe Flacco.

There has even been a national debate about whether he is an "elite" player.

Flacco has also been highly criticized for the Ravens struggles on offense.

However, the quarterback his teammates call "Joe Cool" has been mostly able to ignore the outside noise.

Flacco entered the preseason fully healthy for the first time in several seasons. As a result, he had one of the best training camps of his 11-year career.

Flacco also understands the sense of urgency surrounding this upcoming season. The Ravens have missed the playoffs for three consecutive years and there is speculation this could be Flaccos last ride in Baltimore because of his hefty contract.

The Ravens also selected the dynamic Lamar Jackson with the 32nd overall pick of the NFL Draft as a potential heir to Flacco.

Nonetheless, Flacco has remained poised and fully focused on getting better each day.

We dont have a ton of time to sit there and think about all those things, Flacco said. Were here, were practicing, we go get our bodies worked on, we have a walk-through and we repeat the whole schedule again the next day. Then you just stack days on days on days and we try to stack good days. I think if we can continue to do that, and really not think too much besides getting better each day, then I think yes, well be where we are right now a week from now, two weeks from now, three weeks from now.

You kind of look up after that time and realize, Man, weve gotten better. So, I just think we have to keep that same mindset and things will work out.

Baltimore had the leagues 29th ranked passing attack last year. Flacco, 32, threw for 3,141 yards with 18 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.

The team added veteran wide receivers John Brown, Michael Crabtree and Willie Snead to help boost the offense.

The Ravens added pair of rookie tight ends -- Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews -- in the first three rounds of the draft to replace Benjamin Watson, who led the team in receptions, but left as a free agent.

As a result, the Ravens offense has looked good in camp and the goal is maintain those strides through the regular season.

In the end, Flacco understands the focus will be on him.

"I dont know if you really do anything with it besides come back the next day and try to do the same thing," Flacco said. "I think it builds confidence as a team and as an offense. I definitely think you can come out here and see that we have been doing a good job.

"I think besides building confidence and creating that team atmosphere and really starting to bond together like you do in training camp Those are all really important things that should carry over to game time, and I think besides that I dont think you can read into that too much and sit there We dont have a ton of time to sit there and think about all those things."

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