Looking at his splits, there wasn't much fluctuation in his completion percentage; it didn't seem to matter if he was indoors or outside, at home or on the road, or winning or losing at the time. In each of those situations, the completion percentage held steady between 55 and 60 percent.
But in a few individual games, his aim was scattershot. More than half of Flacco’s throws hit the turf in four of his starts. Interestingly, two of them came against the lowly
On Saturday, six months removed from the end of the 2011 season, I asked
"Completion percentage is an offensive stat," said Cameron, whose contract was renewed after the season ended. "Obviously, the quarterback is saddled with it, and there are some areas that we need to improve on as an offense and every man executing his job, protection getting better, receivers getting better, Joe getting better, everybody getting better. His accuracy throughout the course of the year was really outstanding. We didn't, as a unit, execute the way we needed to, and we have addressed that this whole offseason, and I think our guys are committed to making sure our offensive completion percentage is where we want it to be."
One sentence of that statement really stood out. Flacco's accuracy "was really outstanding." You may not agree with that assessment, but I like the point he was making: While Flacco was often the one who threw the football, he wasn't totally to blame for the extra incompletions.
Plus, Flacco had to develop chemistry on the fly with most of his wide receivers due to the lockout. Entering the season, only one of the team’s wide receivers had actually caught a pass from Flacco (
(An aside: I learned from the Football Outsiders almanac that the Ravens threw a league-low five percent of passes to wide receivers that were third or lower on the depth chart. Evans was targeted 26 times; somehow catching just four passes. Williams had four grabs on 12 targets. Doss did not record a catch. Think the battle to be the No. 3 wideout in camp isn't important?)
Back to Flacco. In his first eight starts of 2011, he completed 54.7 percent of his passes and had a 76.9 rating. In the final eight games, he completed 61.4 percent with an 86.1 rating. Clearly, as he got more comfortable with his targets (particularly Smith), fewer passes fell incomplete.
Smith, Williams and Doss all look to have improved after getting their first real
Considering their individual development, and the collective development of chemistry and continuity with Flacco -- you can lump in third-year tight ends
Cameron, who was full of sunshine Saturday as he raved about many of his players, is expecting big things from Flacco as the fifth-year quarterback starts the final year of his rookie contract.