Joe Flacco isn't perfect. Study his tape from last season and you'll find a handful of rock-solid starts mixed with a rash of mysterious outings. One week he's shredding the Pittsburgh Steelers, crashing the elite-QB conversation; the next he's frazzled and desperate against a weak-sister Jacksonville Jaguars squad on national television.
The Ravens have played good defense for so long that Flacco's early-career achievements are sometimes brushed aside. He was asked this week how he'll respond if that revered defense suffers with the loss of All-Pro linebacker Terrell Suggs. In essence, if Baltimore surrenders points, can Flacco roll with the training wheels off?
"I want us to get in more of a mind-set where we have to score points," Flacco told the team's official website. "Should this be something that makes us do that? No. We shouldn't feel any more pressure because we don't have (Suggs). We still have a great defense and we still have a great team.
"But having said that, if it does put more pressure on us, if we do feel like we have more pressure on us and we need to score more, I don't think that's a bad thing."
Flacco is the first NFL signal-caller to win a postseason game in each of his first four years in the league, but even that hasn't won his critics over. Carrying that rugged defense for once might help.