Originally written on Ravens Football Machine  |  Last updated 6/22/13
He may not be Broadway Joe, but he sure as heck is getting some respect from Broadway... Joe Flacco came in at 19th among the NFL Channel's "Top 100" NFL Players poll. Ryan Clark (Pittsburgh Steelers' safety) disagreed with the high ranking, but former Ravens' safety Ed Reed rallied to Flacco's defense on the NFL Channel. The list, which is voted on by the players, is a compilation of the best players in a single season only, not a reflection of their entire careers. “That is troubling to me,” Reed said of Flacco being ranked the seventh-best quarterback, which was the flip side of coming in at #19 overall. “Beside Adrian Peterson, I don’t think there was a better guy to perform the way Joe did last year for us. Ultimately we are judged on what we do; one year is what we are talking, [so] Joe Flacco is definitely an elite quarterback.” Clark jumped into the conversation, sharing his point of view as a Ravens’ opponent, saying Flacco didn’t instill fear last season the way some other top-5 quarterbacks did. “OK, Ed. We’re talking about last season,” Clark said. “I can be honest, going into to the two games playing you guys, I wasn’t scared of Joe. I didn’t walk into the game thinking Joe was the focus of the offense or Joe was the guy we had to stop going into the game.” Clark asked the future Hall of Famer if he thought Flacco was the type of quarterback that should demand other NFL safeties to focus their time and energy on studying him during the week and try to disguise what they’ll do to defend him. Reed didn’t hesitate. “Yes. I faced him every day in practice,” Reed responded. “I know what Joe can do and what he is capable of. I know what we did last year. I know what he did in the playoffs. He did something no quarterback has ever done in history. Check the stats. I really think Joe is one of those guys that you have to be reckoned with, with Tom Brady being right there.” We’ve checked the stats, Ed. And the most impressive one during his run to the Super Bowl (beating both Brady and Peyton Manning along the way) was tying Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana by throwing 11 touchdowns to no interceptions in the postseason. Flacco jumped 55 spots from last year’s No. 74 ranking, but Reed doesn’t think it was enough because the Super Bowl MVP is still ranked behind six other quarterbacks, including last year’s rookie sensation Robert Griffin III. His critics say Flacco has to do more than come on strong in the playoffs. He has to play at a high level over the course of the entire regular season, where Flacco has traditionally been inconsistent. If he can do that in 2013, following a historic playoff run, then Clark, and presumably his other critics, will become believers. “The biggest question from me is seeing it week in and week out,” Clark said. “I know he has a huge upside, I just want to see it every week.” While Clark was in the NFL Network studios, host Andrew Siciliano flashed images of Flacco hoisting the Lombardi Trophy, and asked Clark what it does to him to watch his arch-nemesis celebrate as the confetti fell. “Nothing,” Clark said, drawing laughter from the panel. “Because one thing you know is that when you don’t have an opportunity to win it, you’re not the team playing for the Super Bowl, that somebody else who deserves the opportunity to get it. And the Baltimore Ravens, they earned it.” Nice try, Ryan, but we're not buying it. For an NFL player to get to this level and be successful, he has to be ultra-competitive. It has to burn Clark up to see his top rival win it all. At least, Clark did admit he hates seeing Terrell Suggs get “giddy” when they see each other. “Now, am I happy about it? Do I want to listen to T-Suggs every day while I’m training in Arizona talk about when he won the Super Bowl? No. “He’s a big giddy dude.”         Thanks to Sarah Ellison of BaltimoreRavens.com for access to her interview quotes above...  
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