Flacco's a top-5 QB? Yeah, right

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco pauses in the game against the New England Patriots  during...

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco pauses in the game against the New England Patriots during their NFL AFC Championship football game in Foxborough, Massachusetts, Jan. 22, 2012. (REUTERS/Adam Hunger)

BILL LANKHOF, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:46 PM ET

Sometimes player agents say the funniest things.

But the Baltimore Ravens probably aren’t laughing. Joe Linta is the guy trying to sell the Ravens on Joe Flacco.

Now, it’s not that the Ravens aren’t eager to buy. They would like nothing better than to have Flacco become their franchise quarterback.

One problem.

Flacco has yet to prove he can be a franchise quarterback to anyone, it seems, except Linta — and maybe Flacco himself.

Linta and the Ravens are to begin meeting next week to discuss a contract extension. And, here’s the funny part: Linta believes Flacco should be paid “top-five” money.

“If the game is about wins and losses, he has to be in the top five (quarterbacks) ,” Linta told the Baltimore Sun. “He is a player who has been extremely durable, never missed a game. And he’s done something that no one has ever done. In his four years in the league, he has never missed a game and has more wins than any other quarterback.”

Now, in Linta’s defence it is flu season, so maybe he’s coming down with something. Quarterbacks can’t be defined simply by wins and losses. Sure, it matters. But to put him with guys like Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Eli Manning, Philip Rivers, and Ben Roethlisberger seem the delusions of a fevered brain.

Flacco may have some nice numbers including a 44-20 regular season record, but he’s been the benefactor of a team with a solid ground attack and a stalwart defence. That record is as much a reflection of Ray Rice or Ray Lewis as it is of Flacco.

If Flacco is “top-five”, imagine where Matthew Stafford might be if he had the same ground game and a defence that didn’t spot the other team 30 or 40 points.

So while Linta says he will sit down with the Ravens at next week’s NFL combine in Indianapolis and that it’s not a “Hatfield and McCoy thing”, there is room here for considerable disagreement. In Linta’s case, shooting the messenger might be, well ... tempting?

The Ravens could, and in likelihood will argue, that Flacco was Tebowesque in a 123 yard performance, plus an interception, in a win over the Bengals this year. Against the Jets he won but was 10 for 31. Flacco is a good quarterback and he fits well in the Ravens’ offence. But the numbers simply don’t back up Linta’s assertion that he is a “top-five” quarterback. Maybe someday. But not today, not without a Super Bowl, not with his numbers.

This year the 27-year-old completed 312 of 542 passes for 3,610 yards with 20 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. His passer rating of 80.9 ranked No. 18 out of the 34 quarterbacks who qualified league-wide.

His completion percentage (57.6) and yards per attempt (6.66) were both career-lows, and he also fumbled a career-high nine times.

“We’re not going to have a press conference next Saturday to announce his extension,” Linta said. “In order to do Joe Flacco’s contract extension, we have to start somewhere. And that’s sitting down and chatting, and that’s what we’re doing.”

When the Ravens hear what Flacco has in mind, it’s a good thing they’ll be sitting!

FULL MEDDLE JACKET

Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert says club owner Art (Snoopy) Rooney II is misunderstood and not a butt-in-skee.

Colbert told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that Rooney isn’t any more meddlesome than any other owner.

Of course, he gets paid to say stuff like like that.

What Colbert didn’t say is that Rooney meddles any less.

He also didn’t say that Rooney did not dictate the decision to replace Bruce Arians with Todd Haley as the offensive coordinator.

“Art Rooney obviously is the owner of the team and the president of the team,” Colbert said. “Of course he’s going to be in the loop on every decision as any chief operating officer would be of any corporation. I think to say he is meddlesome or dictating every decision I think is very inaccurate.”

Of course, nobody insinuated that Rooney was dictating “every” decision.

What they are saying is that when it came to running his team’s offence, Rooney took a chapter out of Al Davis’ Me-Myself & I Football Guide to Management.

And, in setting the record straight, Colbert never did get around to explaining that.

QUICK HITS

The Buffalo Bills are exchanging contract proposals with receiver Stevie Johnson, and the two sides may meet at next week’s scouting combine ... Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow has been in Los Angeles working on his throwing mechanics with new UCLA offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone. “It’s kind of like a golfer who hit that bad drive ... He just came out to see if we can just become a little more efficient in what he’s doing,” Mazzone said. “Throwing motion, footwork, everything I work on with all my quarterbacks.” ... Clinton Portis wants to return to football. Question is: does football want Portis. He worked out for six teams last year and no one signed him to a contract.


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