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Time for Flacco to walk the walk

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(Credits: Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Joe Flacco is perhaps the most underrated quarterback in the NFL.

Flacco’s agent, Joe Linta, raised quite a few eyebrows earlier this offseason when he stated that Flacco is one of the top five quarterbacks in the NFL and should be paid like one.

Well, Flacco, 27, took it one step further Tuesday, telling WNST-1570 in Baltimore that he believes he is the “best” quarterback in the league.

“I would assume everybody thinks they are a top-five quarterback. I think I’m the best, Flacco said, via WNST.net. “I don’t think I’m top five, I think I’m the best. I don’t think I’d be very successful at my job if I didn’t feel that way.”

It was just last offseason, when New York Giants quarterback, Eli Manning, put himself in the same class as Tom Brady. Most laughed until Manning beat Brady in the Super Bowl for a second time.

Like Manning, Flacco has talked the talk, now it’s time for him to walk the walk.

Similar to Manning, Flacco was right to say what he did. As a competitor, Flacco should believe he’s the best, or why else would he be playing if he thought otherwise?

How would you expect Flacco to respond to the question? Maybe he could have given a more modest answer — like he doesn’t compare himself to other quarterbacks — or doesn’t rank himself among anyone else but himself.

Now, had Flacco said he was anything but the best quarterback in the NFL, he would have been ripped to shreds for having no confidence in himself or his abilities.

Flacco’s track record speaks for itself. In his first four seasons as a starter, Flacco’s 44 victories are the most by any quarterback through their first four seasons in NFL history. Flacco is also the only quarterback in NFL history to have taken his team to the postseason and win a playoff game in each of his first four seasons.

Last season, Flacco led the Ravens on a 92-yard, game-winning touchdown drive in the final two minutes of a prime-time game in Pittsburgh against the league’s top-rated defense. In addition, he outplayed Brady in the AFC Championship game and was one stripped pass away from putting the Ravens in the Super Bowl for the first time since 2000.

The biggest problem for Flacco has been playing with consistency from one week to the next. He played perhaps the worst game of his career last season, in a 12-7 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. He was a dismal 21-of-38 for 155 yards, one touchdown and one interception, and the offense didn’t record a first down until the 5:26 mark in the third quarter.

So, before Flacco can self-proclaim himself as the “best,” he has to play with more consistency. It’s not only about the consistency, but it’s also about him proving he can carry the offense and be depended on week after week.

And, the one thing all “elite quarterbacks” have in common is Super Bowl rings. Flacco has to take the Ravens to the Super Bowl and win it. Period. End of story.

When you look at the best quarterbacks in the league — Brady, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees and Eli Manning –  the one thing they all have in common — Super Bowl rings.

But I can see where Flacco is coming from. Throughout the course of last season, Flacco had to defend himself from critics. Not only was he hearing it from the media, but even his own teammate, Ed Reed, questioned No. 5′s grip on the offense after the team’s AFC divisional-round victory over the Houston Texans.

Whatever Flacco has to do to amp himself up, I’m all for it.

The fact of the matter is not whether Flacco is the best quarterback or not. Clearly, he’s not. The important thing is that he believes he is the best, and the challenge now will be backing up his latest statement.