First Impressions

First impressions are in the book for Ravens 1st round draft pick Joe Flacco, and there was little in the way of surprise from the Delaware Blue Hen. 

His press conference Sunday afternoon at Ravens Headquarters showed a lighter side.  When asked about his height and from where it came considering his parents are hardly giants, Flacco said his Dad always told him it was the milk man.

Probably not a joke Mom wanted to hear during his first official Ravens media gathering, but hey, he’s not going to change just because Ozzie Newsome thinks he is the offensive savior for Baltimore. 

But what struck me most in Owings Mills about Flacco was a quiet confidence he displayed.  A chip on his shoulder exists because he had to prove his wares at the “minor leagues” of college football (his words).  He can’t wait to show that the 18th overall selection was justified, and not a wild reach as many pundits have proclaimed.

What proved more revealing was Flacco’s visit to our TV-11 studios Sunday evening.  He made it in time for a live interview during our 6:00 PM broadcast, bringing his entire family plus girlfriend along.  Interestingly, there was no handler or chaperon from the Ravens, but he didn’t need one.  And Flacco had no extraneous entourage of friends – slash – agents – slash – hangers on. 

This kid is terribly unassuming, not interested in the publicity, but not intimidated by it either.  He had virtually no media attention through high school and college so this is something completely new.  And while nobody is ready to book him on Leno for comic relief, he handled all questions with aplomb. 

What was hard to imagine was Flacco taking command of the Ravens huddle.  He doesn’t have that charismatic presence to which people gravitate.  He is somewhat soft spoken and if he truly grasps the gravity of trying to become a star quarterback, he doesn’t show it.

Of course, reading the right defenses and then throwing strikes for touchdowns will make everyone gravitate towards Joe Flacco. 

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