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Cook’s Top 5: Baltimore Ravens Quarterbacks

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Lamar Jackson Baltimore Ravens

Steve Cook continues his journey throughout the NFL with a look at the Top 5 Quarterbacks in the history of the Baltimore Ravens!

Welcome back to our look at the Top 5 Greatest Quarterbacks for each NFL team! Today we’re covering a team that’s found a great deal of success in its twenty-five years as an NFL franchise. The Baltimore Ravens have won two Super Bowls during their time in Baltimore, and after a bumpy first couple of years have almost always been in contention with the Pittsburgh Steelers for the title of Kings of the AFC North.

However, there is one caveat to the Ravens’ success. Up until the late 2000s. consistent quarterback play was hard to find. In fact, the defense has almost always been Baltimore’s strong point, which is great for winning championships but not so great when I’m trying to find quarterbacks for a list.

Nevertheless, here are the 5 Greatest Quarterbacks in Baltimore Ravens history!

5. Trent Dilfer

The 2000 Ravens seemed to have a ton of potential. Their defense was absolutely lights out, shutting teams down left & right. There was only one problem: the offense! The Ravens had been unable to score an offensive touchdown in four straight games when it was decided that they needed a change.

Tony Banks took a seat & Trent Dilfer came in. Dilfer’s tenue in Tampa Bay was largely forgettable, and he was only signed by Baltimore because they needed “somebody” as a backup. Game 1 of the Dilfer Era looked like more of the same was coming when they lost 9-6 to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Ravens went on to win seven straight games to get to 12-4, then kept winning in the playoffs until they became Super Bowl Champions.

Did Dilfer have anything to do with it? Not to hear the Ravens tell it. They didn’t bother bringing the guy back. His Super Bowl run is still enough to put him on this list.

4. Kyle Boller

The Ravens hoped that they found the answer to their inconsistency at the quarterback position when they picked Boller 19th overall in the 2003 NFL Draft. That…did not happen. A fairly mediocre rookie season shortened by injury was followed by what ended up being the only season where he would start 16 games. He was ok enough to trick people into thinking that more was on the horizon, and that 2005 would be his breakout season. Turf toe pretty much put an end to that, and the rest of Boller’s career with the Ravens was spent either recovering from various injuries or flip-flopping from starter to backup because he nor anybody else could get on a good run for the Ravens.

I’m really questioning this pick the more I think about it, but he does have the second most passing yards & fourth most touchdowns in Ravens history. He’s also started the second most games. Pretty amazing, isn’t it? I’ll be honest, before doing this article I hadn’t thought of Kyle Boller’s existence in at least a decade.

3. Vinny Testaverde

Testaverde holds the distinction of being the first starting quarterback for the Baltimore Ravens. As it turned out, that first Ravens season was one of his best. His 4,177 passing yards stood as the Ravens single-season record until 2016, while his 33 passing touchdowns stood until 2019. It was a truly remarkable season that resulted in Testaverde’s first Pro Bowl appearance. The good people of Tampa never saw it coming.

Unfortunately, Vinny’s performance was largely wasted by a poor Ravens defense. The 441 points Baltimore allowed that season still ranks as the most in franchise history. Baltimore finished 4-12, showing that it was going to take more than changing cities to find success. Testaverde’s stats would take a dip in 1997, and he would move on to the New York Jets. The Ravens would move on to a pretty mediocre string of quarterbacks up until 2008 or so.

2. Lamar Jackson

Originally, I did not want to put Lamar on this list. I left Kyler Murray off of the Arizona Cardinals’ list because I thought it was too soon, and Jackson has only been in the NFL for one more season than Murray. He only started seven games that first season. When I looked at Lamar’s numbers compared with other Ravens quarterbacks, I was given no choice.

Jackson has already thrown the second-most touchdown passes in franchise history & thrown for the fourth-most yards. He’s also rushed for the third-most yards, only Jamal Lewis & Ray Rice are ahead of him on that account. His 6.0 yards per carry is nearly two yards higher than their 4.3. Oh, and his 7.5 yards per passing attempt is highest in team history.

Jackson’s 2019 season was extraordinary, with a team record 36 passing touchdowns & over 1200 rushing yards. He was the first Baltimore Raven to win the Most Valuable Player award. 2020 was a bit of a step back, ranking eleventh in quarterback rating & seventh in QBR. Not bad by regular standards, but nowhere near MVP level. That being said, Lamar could struggle through 2021, move to another franchise if the Ravens refuse to extend him for some reason (they’ll make a deal), and would still be the second best quarterback in Ravens history. He can only move up from here.

1. Joe Flacco

The 2008 NFL Draft only had two quarterbacks picked in the first round, but both of them set a new standard for their franchises. Flacco was the eighteenth pick in the first round that had gained attention during the Senior Bowl & the Combine with his good size & powerful throwing arm. Indeed, Flacco has the kind of physical attributes you want out of a quarterback, and for most of his tenure with the Ravens he did well enough as a starter. He’s played in 110 more games than the Raven QB that played in the second-most games for the team. Yes, every statistical record of relevance belongs to him.

Was he elite? Nah. He’s never led the NFL in any statistical category. He’s never even been selected to a Pro Bowl. Was he solid? Heck yeah! He was certainly reliable, starting every game in nine out of his eleven seasons with the Ravens. Flacco only threw more interceptions than touchdowns once. His teams were successful, as he only had two seasons where his QB record dipped below .500.

For most of their existence, the Baltimore Ravens have only required competence from its quarterbacks. It’s been tough to find, but Joe Flacco was competent for a long period of time. That was what the Ravens needed, and that was what they got.

Join us next time when we look at the Top 5 Buffalo Bills Quarterbacks!

Cook’s Top 5: Arizona Cardinals Quarterbacks
Cook’s Top 5: Atlanta Falcons Quarterbacks
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NFL

Cook’s 2022 NFL Picks: Week 4 TNF Edition

Cook chimes in with his look at the NFL Week 4 Thursday Night Football showdown between the surging Miami Dolphins and his Cincinnati Bengals!

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Tua Tagovailoa

Cook chimes in with his look at the NFL Week 4 Thursday Night Football showdown between the surging Miami Dolphins and his Cincinnati Bengals!

Hi, hello and welcome to Week 4 of the National Football League! I don’t want to make a habit of these TNF exclusive columns, but this Thursday night has a game that deserves such treatment. The Miami Dolphins that have taken the league by storm over the first three weeks. They did a Butt Punt and still won in Week 3. The Cincinnati Bengals that won the AFC last season. They lost their first two games in inexcusable fashion, but came back strong against the New York Football Jets. This game needs the Cook Breakdown, so let’s get right to it! The line is via the Vegas Insider Consensus on Wednesday night.

Thursday, September 29

Miami at Cincinnati (-3.5)

I’ll be honest, as I am 95% of the time in this column. Some of these games will be difficult for me to talk about, as there are certain teams in the NFL that don’t really stoke my interest. Dolphins vs. Bengals on THURSDAY NIGHT IS FOOTBALL NIGHT has all of the things going on. The Miami Dolphins have been the biggest surprise of the first three weeks. Early returns seem to show that Tyreek Hill was the most important cog of the Chiefs offense in recent years. Miami even managed to beat the Bills last week after executing the rarely seen Butt Punt, which is pretty amazing since the media told me Buffalo wouldn’t lose a game this season. They’re a dangerous team with a lot of tools, even if Tua Tagovailoa got hit on his head and somehow ended up with a back/ankle injury in the process.

Everything reported about the Tua injury smells like BS to me. Since he had trouble walking off the field after getting hit in the head, his ankle must have been injured too. OK. That ankle is why he fell down, sure. All I know is that the Dolphins will make sure Tua is on the field Thursday night whether he’s 100% or not. This is a big week for them, as its a chance to defeat the defending AFC Champions on their home turf. A victory here would further solidify the Dolphins in the eyes of football fans. Tyreek vs. Eli Apple seems like a handicap match to me, especially with Tyreek having revenge for last year on his mind.

Vegas obviously thinks that the Bengals got right against the Jets. They also know that the Bengals will be working the White Tiger gimmick, with White Bengal helmets. Isaac Curtis & Willie Anderson will be inducted into the Bengals Ring of Honor. In case you’re not as familiar with Bengal lore as I am, allow me to explain. Curtis was the first great Bengal wide receiver, before Chad Johnson, Cris Collinsworth, A.J. Green and all the folks you see these days. Anderson was the second great Bengal offensive tackle after Anthony Munoz. He got a bunch of Pro Bowl slots and would have gotten more earlier in his career if voters didn’t ignore the Bengals at that time. We’re talking two Cincinnati Bengal living legends here. We’re also talking about some awesome helmets. I know opinion on the Bengals helmets is divisive out in the unwashed masses, but to me the Bengal stripes are iconic. Switch the orange out for white, and it’s a unique look.

I would love to tell you that the Bengals got right against the Jets and are ready to make another run. It’s especially tempting now that Tua is whatever he is. But the Dolphins still have a ton of talent ready to go, and if there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s that if the Bengals end up against a backup QB they will make that man look good. The Dolphins’ backup? Teddy Bridgewater.

Football fans have varying opinions on whether one should support their college players against their pro teams. My man Hodge immediately cuts off all of his Big 10 favorites once they don’t get drafted by the Bears. Me, I’m a little more sentimental. Louisville has their peaks & valleys when it comes to producing NFL talent. There are some Cardinals I don’t get attached to, and some I do. Lamar Jackson is one for me. Yes, he plays for an AFC North rival, but I still love him like I imagine one loves a son and want him to do well. He gave me too many positive memories. Teddy Bridgewater is in that same boat for me. He’s such a wonderful person that everybody seems to love. Maybe he didn’t become a top notch NFL quarterback, but he established himself as one of those backups that can stay in the league for years. If the Bengals play against him, I can’t bring myself to root against him, even if he’s against the pro team I grew up rooting for. Some of you won’t understand this, others will smell what I’m cooking.

I’m hoping that the Bengals get a win here and turn their season around in a big way. But I see what the Dolphins are doing, and can’t bet against them down more than a field goal on a wild Thursday night game.

Week 3 Results: 7-8-1
Overall Results: 22-25-1


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NFL

Chairshot NFL: Dolphins, Eagles, Raiders and Texans

Join PC Tunney and Rey Cash as they discuss the undefeated and the winless heading into week 4 of NFL action!

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Join PC Tunney and Rey Cash as they discuss the undefeated and the winless heading into week 4 of NFL action! The dynamic duo also runs down all the point spreads and over unders for this week of action. Let us not forget to pay attention to the LOCKS OF THE WEEK and give your kids the Christmas they deserve.

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