QB Joe Flacco (1.3.24)

What are your thoughts on playing in a game that doesn’t affect the playoff position?

“Yeah, it is what it is. I mean, you do what coach says and you go out there and you treat it just like any other one.”


What’s your personal history with the Ravens?

“In situations like this, you mean?”


Yeah. Would you play or not?

I think we only had one opportunity and it was the year we won, and I hadn’t missed a start at that point. I think we ended up playing like a series, something like that.”


Are you a believer in momentum matters in the playoffs? 

“I mean, hitting your stride definitely matters, but each week is its own. I don’t know if anything really matters besides getting in. Once you get in, it kind of starts over. At that point.”


You probably have the most playoff experience of anybody in here. Are there pieces of advice that you can give the younger guys or the guys that haven’t had the playoff experience that you have? 

“It’s tough. I think everybody always wants to kind of – ‘Oh, it’s playoff atmosphere. It’s going to be this, it’s going to be that.’ I will say typically in the beginning of the games, you can feel that energy a little bit, but the games settle in. I’ve always found it best to just go about your business the same way you always would and let the game kind of come to you. Don’t try to do too much. It’s just play within yourself and the next thing you know it’ll feel like a regular game. I will say, though, in the beginning, the atmosphere, you can kind of feel the importance of it and feel the little bit of difference. But like I said, after the first few minutes, first couple of drives, the game settles in and it’s another football game.”


Joe, the fact that you only played five games in twelve months. Do you want to play if asked? 

“Listen, I think as players, you always want to get out there and play and strap it up. So that’s the mindset that we have and just kind of keep it simple like that.”


How about the fact that does it factor in at all that you could also earn an extra little $75,000 bonus? 

“No. Once again, those are things that are so far out of my mind, not for me to worry about.”


What about, you didn’t have (Amari) Cooper and you didn’t have Elijah Moore for a bunch of that game against the Jets? Is it important to reconnect with them before the playoffs? 

“I think as much as we can do over the next couple of weeks, sure, but that’s just part of this game, man, is like dealing with stuff like that. I think you never know when you’re going to have to. So, the ability to kind of just keep going and keep your focus on what is important. I think the main focus is just getting those guys healthy and then dealing with what comes after that when we have to.”


Sorry to be redundant, but if coach asks you do you want to play or what your preference is, what’s your preference? 

“Listen, like I said, as players, you always want to get out there and strap them up. In my experiences, coaches don’t usually leave that up to the players. They make the decision and they run with it.”


The numbers say that you’re amidst one of the best stretches, if not the best stretch in your career, which, considering the situation this year, is somewhat unique. Just why do you think you’ve been able to put together such a good stretch of football? 

“Listen, I think statistically, sure, you can say that. It’s easy to just look at that and say that, but I’ve said it before. I think that doesn’t always tell the story. It can give you an idea of what’s going on, but it doesn’t always tell the story. Listen, you got to give a ton of credit to just, first of all, the offensive line. I think the pockets and just the amount of space that I’ve had back there to be able to get through my reads and then do some extra. I think you have to give them a ton of credit. I think you have to give a ton of credit to the wideouts. I think you have to give a ton of credit to Kevin (Stefanski). I mean, he’s called pretty aggressive games, I would say, over the last six weeks, and I think it’s made a little bit of a difference. So, there’s a lot of factors.”


So, acknowledging that, how do you feel compared to what the numbers say that you’ve been able to produce? 

“Well, listen, obviously it’s been feeling pretty good to go out there and win football games. I don’t know if you’re necessarily aware of what you’re doing in the moment. But to win, it feels good. So everybody’s excited, and I’ve said it before, you can see it in everybody’s eyes. We’re all excited to go out there and play football games right now, and that’s a good feeling. I’m honestly, at the point in my career I am. I could care less if I throw for a touchdown pass or not. It’s about winning the football game. I think at some point in your career you fight the urge to want to have good stats and that’s what you want to do, and you want to prove that you’re this kind of player. That kind of player. It really doesn’t matter, man. It’s been nice to be able to just focus on winning football games and everything else is secondary.”


Did you come back by any chance a better quarterback after having sat out part of the season? In some ways. Did you come back better in any aspect? And if so, what might it have been? 

“I think if you can keep yourself in shape as a quarterback, then there’s no reason you shouldn’t get better year after year. You just always gain little insights for me, for sure. Like just the last couple of years and then not being somewhere most of the year. This year, I think you can definitely gain some perspective on just what we do for a living and how important it is. It just kind of removes you from the situation a little bit and allows you to, I don’t know, seeing stuff from another perspective just gives you a different insight and it reminds you, I think, in this case, of how cool it is to do what we get to do. So, I think taking that into games definitely. It definitely helps you mentally.”


You’re obviously self-driven and I know you probably put pressure on yourself to play well when you’re out there, but because you were out for a while, has it allowed you to play a little more carefree? And maybe not that you wouldn’t take risks in the past, but maybe slinging along a little bit more because of it?

“I think there’s probably something to that. Like you think there’s something to that, right? You probably go into your first game and yeah, I think you can trick yourself into thinking, okay, it’s not like people really expect that much. I’m just going to go out here and just do whatever. But man, these games are so important that by the time game day comes around, there’s a little bit of you that feels that important and you want to go out there and play well for your teammates. Listen, I just said in the last answer, I do think there’s something that you can kind of refresh yourself. You get a little refresh from being away, so you’re not necessarily going out there and playing more carefree, but the different perspective that you have. Like I said, when you’re in the grind, you can look at it like a job, and when you’re out of it, you want that job. And then when you get back to it, you look at it less like a job and more like a game that you have to go out and win. I would be lying if I said there wasn’t some kind of factor with all that stuff, but I don’t know how to perfectly word it.”


Your personal history in the division. We know you dominated the Browns. You had a winning record against Pittsburgh, but a losing record against Cincinnati. Does it feel like they’ve had your number in your career at all? 

“Yeah, I hate going to Cincinnati. They’ve always played us tough. Listen, I think my first year we beat up on them and then after mean they got know they got good quick. I mean, you got to give credit to those guys. They’ve had really good football teams and they’ve beat us a couple of crazy ways, too. They just flat out beat me and the teams I was on and they’ve beaten us on fourth downs, on Hail Mary’s. I think every year we’d look at that and we knew that they probably had our number a little bit and were doing our best to overcome it. But they’re a good football team and they have been for a really long time now. So, you got to give them credit.”


Do you remember your first win was against them? 

“Yeah, I do. Kind of crazy. I think we scored on two reverses, one of which was broken, and I scored on and then second, which was an actual reverse. I think maybe we kicked one more field goal that game, but, yeah.”


Longest run ever. 

“Yes. First game ever. Longest run ever.”


When you talked about Kevin (Stefanski) as a play caller and the aggression he’s showing, you talked about watching the Browns play call. Like, could you tell that when you watched, did you think, this is a play caller I’d like to be with or anything like that? 

“I don’t know. I think just kind of seeing him from afar and knowing that he was with guy that I’ve been with. I’m sure there was a little bit of that thought process, but other than that, didn’t really have too much of an opinion.”


And then when you got here, you referred to the Browns as they. So when does they become like we? 

“Yeah, I think it’s still like that weird thing. It’s like when you’re talking about games that they, that we were playing before I got here, it is like, what do you say? Listen, this locker room, you heard great things about it coming in before you stepped foot into it. And I felt like very quickly I became part of the ‘we.’ And that’s a credit to these guys around here.”


Kind of along those lines, you can’t possibly know before you got here, but do you have a sense of what impact you’d have on this locker room? 

“It’s tough to look at it that way. I mean, you can tell that people look at you guys look at you a little bit differently just because of the fact that I’ve played this is the 16th year that I’ve been in this league. And you can tell that guys look at you a little bit differently just because of that. I mean, I’m dealing with, I always say it, if I messed up in high school, I could be these kids’ dads. There’s something that they probably do look at me a little bit differently just because of that, to get a sense of what kind of impact. Who knows? I’m just being myself and trying to help them win games. And I think when you’re yourself, that’s the best chance you have to impact people. So hopefully I add something.”



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