Flacco forged into NFL star in New Jersey
Joe Flacco’s path to the NFL — and Sunday’s Super Bowl XLVII — was as unassuming as the quarterback himself.
When Flacco committed to Pittsburgh in late December of his senior year at Audobon High School, southeast of Camden, N.J., he wasn’t a big-name recruit.
After transferring to Delaware, he led the Blue Hens to the playoffs twice and the championship game in 2007, Flacco began preparing for the NFL Draft with former Giants quarterback Scott Brunner at TEST Football Academy in central New Jersey. Flacco’s successful postseason hasn’t been a surprise to Brunner.
“Joe was an extremely talented quarterback when he came to us out of college,” Brunner said. “Like most guys preparing for the NFL they rarely need a major overhaul, but rather modifications to their technique. Specifically we focused a lot on ball handling and footwork. Many of the drills we used were devised to help him improve his movement skills in the pocket and protecting the ball from the fierce pass rushes he would face. Additionally we worked on helping him understand when to escape the pocket and extend the play.”
Those skills have helped extend the Ravens season from the wild-card round of the playoffs to what could well become the franchise’s second Super Bowl victory. Flacco has been masterful, enjoying one of the best postseasons in NFL history.
Flacco has thrown for 853 yards this postseason with eight touchdowns and no interceptions. More than anything, it is his calm, unflappable style that is translating to wins.
Brunner, who like Flacco played his college ball at Delaware, said the straight-faced Flacco is, “contrary to popular belief, a fun guy to be around.”
“One of the other things we discussed was his personality. There were many who thought he needed to show a more fiery personality,” Brunner said. “I knew that if he tried to be something he wasn’t his teammates would see right through that act. … I think the leadership torch of the Ravens is now being passed to Joe.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.