NFL Notes: Flacco says he's No. 1

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (L) talks with Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco...

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (L) talks with Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco after the Patriots defeated the Ravens in the NFL AFC Championship football game in Foxborough, Massachusetts, January 22, 2012. (REUTERS/Mike Segar)

Bill Lankhof, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 7:43 PM ET

Joe Flacco thinks a lot of himself.

Now all he has to do is make believers out of the rest of the NFL world.

Last February his agent called him a “top-five” quarterback and people started looking sideways at him. Now Flacco has upped the ante, telling a Baltimore radio station that he believes he’s the “best” quarterback in the NFL.

This makes sense — but only if Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Eli Manning are in a league by themselves.

But Flacco begs to differ. “I think I’m the best. I don’t think I’m top five, I think I’m the best. I don’t think I’d be very successful at my job if I didn’t feel that way. I mean, c’mon? That’s not really too tough a question,” he said, when asked to rate where he is as a quarterback.

Drew Brees, Rodgers and Manning have won the last three Super Bowls. Tom Brady and Peyton Manning own multiple NFL MVP awards. Flacco has won ... ahh, well, some laughs?

Actually, if he keeps talking like that he won’t even qualify for Mr. Congeniality.

Flacco is trying to get a new contract which helps explain the inflated self-opinion.

He did help the Ravens to a 12-4 record last year and the AFC North title, and the club was a Lee Evans’ dropped pass from representing the AFC in the Super Bowl. Still, that would seem a tenuous hook for Flacco to hang the “I’m No. 1” sign on.

Entering the final year of a rookie contract, he is angling for an extension of lucrative proportion — a proceeding the Ravens always welcome with the enthusiasm of a skunk at the family picnic. For instance, Ray Rice, the engine that drives the Ravens’ prolific ground attack, has been trying to get an extension for more than a year. Instead, Baltimore dropped the franchise tag on him.

“I hope that we get something done before the beginning of the year because when the year comes and goes and I haven’t been re-signed, then that’s when things can start to get complicated,” Flacco said. “It’s not about the money. It’s about what you feel you deserve.”

In other words, it’s about the money.

BILL OF FARE

Robert Griffin III could make his pro debut at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

No, not for Buffalo. Didn’t mean to make you blow your morning coffee through your nose.

No, the NFL has released its preseason schedule and the Redskins, expected to select Griffin in the draft, will be in Buffalo for Week One of preseason action.

In Week Three, Andrew Luck could face Griffin when Indianapolis visits Washington.

Finally, preseason games that might actually be interesting.

WINDOW DRESSING

The NFL has unveiled its new Nike-designed uniforms.

They’re lighter, cooler, fit tighter but the Cleveland Browns are still brown, the Chicago Bears will still have dark uniforms so nobody can see the track marks on the backs of their sacked quarterbacks, Tom Brady will still look spotless in traditional colour and, it is still possible to recognize a Buffalo Bill by their red, white and blue.

The Bills’ biggest change — presumably other than showing up in the loss column every week — will be in the jersey collars. They’re blue in home jerseys; white on the road — but curiously, no mention of them being too tight. Go figure.

The Seahawks made the boldest change, adding neon green trim on the pants and numbers.

According to Nike “a few of the new innovations include increasing sleeve articulation for better range of motion and integrating new four-way stretch fabrication to provide a streamline shrink-wrap fit.”

Or, anything to get fans to open their wallets.

Bills’ safety George Wilson, one of the models, noted Nike had spent millions and five years designing the new uniforms.

All that, and in the end, everyone reportedly still put their pants on one leg at a time.

LET’S REVIEW

Commissioner Roger Goodell will hear the appeals Thursday regarding Bounty-gate.

Saints head coach Sean Payton is asking for review of his one-year ban. General manager Mickey Loomis and assistant Joe Vitt are appealing lesser suspensions.

TIM WHO?

Jags’ quarterback Blaine Gabbert said it didn’t bother him that the club went after Tim Tebow.

“It was not a worry in the world,” Gabbert said. “They had to do their due diligence evaluating players. It’s the nature of the business. You have to do that in order to build a complete football team.”

Chances are Gabbert will still be challenged for the No. 1 job by Chad Henne. The Jags signed the former Dolphins’ starter to be Gabbert’s mentor. But if the offence struggles like it did last season, chances are good Henne will wind up behind centre.

Maybe then he’ll worry.

THE NINTH MONTH OF THE YEAR IS ...

It’s a good thing Morris Claiborne can read a quarterback’s eyes because it doesn’t appear he can read much else.

Expected to be a top-10 pick in the NFL draft, the LSU cornerback scored a four out of 50 in the Wonderlic test, which assesses vocabulary skills, reading comprehension, math skills, and spatial relationships.

It’s believed to be the lowest score recorded since Iowa State running back Darren Davis put up the same number at the scouting combine in 2000. Six years ago, quarterback Vince Young initially got a six, although it was eventually rescored as a 13. The average player scores 20 on the test that involves answering 50 questions in 12 minutes.

Of course the public has always suspected most major college football players aren’t there because they’re students. It’s basically a minor league for the NFL, or a training ground, much like the junior hockey leagues are for the NHL.

Buccaneers cornerback Ronde Barber said the test is irrelevant to on-field ability. “I don’t think it’s a factor,” Barber tells NFL.com. “I don’t think it really translates into the football IQ, I wouldn’t pay much attention to it.”

There have been reports Claiborne has a learning disability which might have affected his score. But it would be interesting to know how schools keep players such as Claiborne academically eligible.

The test includes sample questions such as:

The ninth month of the year is: 1) October 2) January 3) June 4) September 5) May.

Or, this one: A boy is 17 years old and his sister is twice as old. When the boy is 23 years old, what will be the age of his sister?

The smart answer of course is: Don’t ask that kind of question. She’s a woman. And, if you do ask, don’t forget to duck.

 

 


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