Flacco de­fends his me­chan­ics

QB has more INTs than TD passes this sea­son

Baltimore Sun - - RAVENS & NFL - By Ed­ward Lee ed­ward.lee@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/Ed­wardLeeSun Bal­ti­more Sun re­porter Jeff Zre­biec con­trib­uted to this ar­ti­cle.

The good news for Joe Flacco was that he broke an 11-quar­ter drought with­out a touch­down pass when wide re­ceiver Mike Wal­lace turned a quick slant into a 95-yard score in the first quar­ter of the Ravens’ 21-14 vic­tory over the Pitts­burgh Steel­ers on Sun­day.

The bad news was that he had thrown an in­ter­cep­tion on an ear­lier pos­ses­sion. Af­ter eight games, he has more in­ter­cep­tions (seven) than touch­down passes (six) this sea­son.

On third-and-10 at Pitts­burgh’s 22-yard line, Flacco took a snap in the shot­gun for­ma­tion and rolled to his right to avoid pres­sure com­ing from his left. While mov­ing, he lofted a throw off his back foot and across his body to tight end Dennis Pitta, stand­ing in the mid­dle of the field. The floater was picked off by rookie cor­ner­back Ar­tie Burns.

In the end, the gaffe did not prove too costly, but the play was an­other ex­am­ple of the strong-armed Flacco not plant­ing his left foot into the grass and throw­ing with author­ity.

Still, Flacco dis­puted that the in­ter­cep­tion was a re­sult of poor me­chan­ics.

“It wasn’t a me­chan­ics is­sue as much as it was just a bad decision,” he said af­ter Tues­day’s prac­tice. “I was hot on the left side. So I had to move away from it, and there’s noth­ing you can do about that be­sides throw the ball into the ground, re­ally.”

Flacco’s fun­da­men­tals and tech­nique seem to have re­gressed since he posted ca­reer highs in yards (3,986) and touch­downs (27) in 2014 un­der for­mer of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Gary Ku­biak. His 6.2 yards per pass­ing at­tempt this sea­son rank as the third low­est among start­ing quar­ter­backs.

An in­jury-plagued of­fen­sive line has put Flacco un­der reg­u­lar duress, af­fect­ing his com­fort level in the pocket. But Flacco in­sisted that his me­chan­ics were not a prob­lem in Sun­day’s game.

“I ac­tu­ally thought they were re­ally good this week,” he said. “I felt like our line did a good job, and I was able to hang in there.” Joe Flacco said his in­ter­cep­tion Sun­day “wasn’t a me­chan­ics is­sue as much as it was just a bad decision.” He’s av­er­ag­ing 6.2 yards per at­tempt this sea­son. In­jury re­port: Start­ing right guard Mar­shal Yanda has sat out back-to­back prac­tice ses­sions. Yanda, who missed two games this sea­son be­cause of a shoul­der in­jury, started in Sun­day’s win, but if he can’t play Thurs­day night against the Cleve­land Browns, Ryan Jensen likely would take his place.

In ad­di­tion to Yanda, out­side lineback­ers Elvis Dumervil (foot) and rookie Ka­malei Cor­rea (thigh), tight end Crock­ett Gill­more and cor­ner­back Sha­reece Wright did not prac­tice for the sec­ond con­sec­u­tive day.

Cen­ter Jeremy Zut­tah was not on the field dur­ing the por­tion of prac­tice open to the media, but he was not on the team’s in­jury re­port, mean­ing he did in­deed par­tic­i­pate. Cor­rea on the mend: Cor­rea breezed through St. Louis High in Honolulu and Boise State with­out suf­fer­ing a se­ri­ous in­jury. So deal­ing with a thigh in­jury that kept him from play­ing Sun­day is un­fa­mil­iar for the sec­ond-round draft pick. Cor­rea fin­ished his ca­reer at Boise State with 27 con­sec­u­tive starts.

Cor­rea, 22, has three tack­les, one forced fum­ble and one pass breakup so far, and had earned the first start of his ca­reer in the Ravens’ 24-16 loss to the New York Jets on Oct. 23.

But two days later, the 6-foot-3, 250-pound line­backer walked off the prac­tice field af­ter ap­pear­ing to suf­fer the in­jury dur­ing spe­cial teams drills. With­out com­ment­ing on the spe­cific na­ture of the in­jury, he said he has not been told it is a long-term con­cern. End zone: The Thurs­day night game means both teams will un­veil their Color Rush uni­forms. The Ravens’ ver­sion is bright pur­ple with gold ac­cents that Sports Il­lus­trated ranked No. 18 among all teams’ Color Rush of­fer­ings. Flacco said he’s look­ing for­ward to don­ning the new threads. “I think they’re re­ally cool,” he said. The Browns’ all-brown uni­form was ranked No. 25. … The Ravens ter­mi­nated the con­tract of quar­ter­back David Fales and re-signed guard Jarell Brox­ton and cor­ner­back Robert­son Daniel to the prac­tice squad Tues­day. Brox­ton and Daniel have spent time on the prac­tice squad this sea­son, and Daniel was on the ac­tive ros­ter for two weeks before he was waived Satur­day to make room for strong safety Matt Elam. Fales, who played at San Jose State and was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the sixth round of the 2014 draft, had been on the prac­tice squad since Sept. 6. … Cleve­land prac­ticed for the sec­ond con­sec­u­tive day with­out a pair of starters in cor­ner­back Ja­mar Tay­lor (groin) and left tackle Joe Thomas (knee).

KEN­NETH K. LAM/BAL­TI­MORE SUN

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