NEW ORLEANS — It may be hard to fathom now, what with Joe Flacco getting the Ravens to the Super Bowl with a series of exceptional playoff performances under immense pressure situations, but there was a time when his cool, calm, laid-back demeanor was looked at as a hindrance to his development as a quarterback.
Show more emotion, his critics said. Make it look like you care. Do something, anything.
Even Ray Lewis, the unequivocal and outspoken leader in the Ravens’ locker room, suggested Flacco develop a more outgoing personality. Especially now that the soon-to-be-retired Lewis wants to transfer his leadership role to Flacco.
“I think Joe has a great advantage and head start to really becoming that next true, true leader,” Lewis said. “He kind of has to come out of his quiet shell a little bit, but outside of that, Joe is definitely a great candidate for it.”
Sorry, Joe Cool isn’t buying. Can’t change who he is. Not now. Not ever.
“I haven’t worked on (being more outgoing), and don’t know if I agree with it,” Flacco said of Lewis’ suggestion. “There are a lot of different ways to lead, and the bottom line is it’s about motivating your players to get the best out of them and having the belief that you can go do it in any situation. Ray does a great job of that in his own way, and I don’t know if there’s anybody quite like him in that category.”
So why not at least try to become a more audible presence in the locker room? Particularly now, when Lewis is about to exit stage left after Super Bowl XLVII next Sunday?
Simple. It’s just not him.
“To do something along the lines of the way he does it would be a mistake,” said Flacco, who has eight touchdown passes and no interceptions in three playoff games this year. “Just because I don’t think you’re going to live up to it. You’ve got to do it your own way, and I think naturally as you get more comfortable with people and people understand you more, and you become more confident in them, and they become more confident in you, you become more vocal as time goes on.”