OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Camp Flacco is back after popular demand.
At the start of the Baltimore Ravens’ offseason workout program, quarterback Joe Flacco said he plans to hold extra throwing sessions with new receivers Michael Crabtree and John Brown this summer between the end of minicamp and the start of training camp.
This comes after coach John Harbaugh and general manager Ozzie Newsome both publicly talked about the value of additional workouts and how they help a quarterback and his receivers mesh. Ravens fans have also been clamoring for Flacco to throw to his receivers beyond the team’s practices.
Joe Flacco said he’s looking forward to his workouts this summer with new receivers John Brown and Michael Crabtree. “I think when you can get that relationship going, that’s going to help your football team out a ton,” Flacco said. Rob Carr/Getty Images
“There’s no doubt, that stuff is important and that we’ll do it,” Flacco said Tuesday. “I’ve already talked about it with John and Mike about it. I think sometimes those things are just as much or more about developing a relationship with those guys and developing that trust, and for those guys to see that I really like who they are as football players and for them to see hopefully they like who I am as a football player. I think when you can get that relationship going, that’s going to help your football team out a ton.”
Flacco has only scheduled these private workouts once in his 10-year NFL career, and that was seven years ago during the NFL lockout.
There has been an increased need for the extra throwing sessions after Baltimore revamped its supporting cast around Flacco. To improve the NFL’s 29th-ranked passing game, Baltimore parted ways with its top two wide receivers (Mike Wallace and Jeremy Maclin) as well as its leading pass-catcher (tight end Benjamin Watson). There’s only one player currently on the roster who caught more than 30 passes last season, and that’s running back Buck Allen.
Flacco’s top targets this season will likely end up being Crabtree, Brown, another veteran free agent, and highly drafted rookies at wide receiver and tight end.
Some quarterbacks have already worked with their receivers this offseason. New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning annually meets with teammates at Duke in early April, and new Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes II has been throwing to receivers at a high school.
Flacco doesn’t feel there’s much value in scheduling workouts before the team’s offseason program begins.
“I think when it’s important to get with guys and really throw is after you’ve spent a little time with your coaches,” Flacco said. “We all understand what the common goal is, and then when you’re ramping up toward those five weeks toward the season, that’s when it becomes important.”
Crabtree, who has caught passes from Colin Kaepernick and Derek Carr, knows the importance of building chemistry with the starting quarterback.
“I think you need to have that relationship to have that accountability on the field,” Crabtree said. “If we’re talking in the locker room and then come game time you’re going to expect me to do what we talked about.”