One of the things NFL players coming back from serious injuries dread the most is their first hit when they return from the injury. Some players try to play it off by saying they are excited about getting hit because they want to get it over with, but Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco is not one of those guys. After losing Flacco, Terrell Suggs, and Steve Smith to season ending injuries last season, the Ravens missed out on the playoffs. With all three back and healthy, Baltimore is still not getting any respect when it comes to Super Bowl betting predictions.

Flacco, who will make his preseason debut against the Detroit Lions, knows that his surgically repaired knee will be targeted during the season, but is still not looking forward to getting hit. After practice on Thursday, Flacco said that he didn’t need to get hit, but if he does, it’s not the end of the world.

Joe Flacco
(USA TODAY Sports)

Flacco, who missed the first two preseason games while recovering from his surgery, is set to play close to a half against the Lions to get some reps in before the regular season starts. While the quarterback has looked very sharp in practice, he has been wearing the red jersey which protects him from getting hit during practice. On Saturday, he will get no such protection from defenders.

When asked if his quarterback can shake of his first hit, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said he was confident in his quarterback, and if he wasn’t, he wouldn’t put him in the game.

Flacco suffered the injuries to his ACL and MCL after left tackle James Hurst was pushed into him during a game in November. When Flacco takes the field on Saturday, it will be the first time he has done so in 279 days.

After such a layoff, the Ravens expect Flacco to be a little rusty. Harbaugh said it is to be expected, but he would rather have his quarterback look rusty in a preseason game than a regular season game.

Before getting injured, Flacco had started 122 consecutive games, which was the fifth longest streak by a quarterback in league history. Team officials praised Flacco this offseason for the way he approached the rehab he had to go through to get back on the field in time for the start of the regular season. Flacco targeted the first day of training camp for his return and was on the field when training camp started.

Even though he was held out of the first two preseason games, Flacco hasn’t missed a rep of practice and feels ready for the start of the season. Flacco told reporters that he doesn’t believe he needs to play in the preseason to be ready for the start of the regular season, but he wanted to put himself through the whole process because he thinks he will be better for it.

Offensive coordinator Marc Trestman said he thinks Flacco answered all the questions everyone had about how he will perform when he returned from the injury with the way he has looked in practice. Trestman said Flacco has shown a lot of confidence and is moving well inside and outside the pocket, which are signs that he is ready for the season to begin.

 

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