Quarterbacks coach James Urban had Flacco perform an unusual drill last week to try to limit the number of passes being deflected for the 6-foot-6 quarterback.
"He’s standing there with a bag in his hand that goes up to 12 feet high, unrealistically high for anybody’s hands,” Flacco said. "[One time] I just threw the ball and hit the bag on purpose. It’s just like, 'I get your point. We got it.’”
Flacco added, "I was kind of laughing at him and getting mad at him at the same time.”
Flacco has had 11 passes batted down in the first six games of the season, which are tied with Minnesota’s Kirk Cousins for most in the league, according to ESPN Stats & Information. They’re the only ones with more than seven deflected passes at the line this year.
Flacco has had at least two passes knocked down at the line in four of his six games, including two in Sunday's 21-0 win over the Tennessee Titans.
“That’s something that’s a problem, because those are opportunities,” coach John Harbaugh said. "A lot of times, those guys are open, and those are chances to complete passes. That’s something that we’ve been working on the last couple of weeks. We still haven’t cleaned it up the way we want to, and we’re not happy about it. We need to clean that up.”
Should this be happening to one of the tallest quarterbacks in the NFL?
"Those guys that are in front of him are pretty tall, too, but [6-feet] Drew Brees, I don’t think, has a batted pass yet this year [Brees has one], to make that contrast," Harbaugh said. "So it’s probably not as much about that as it is about other issues. It’s always a team effort. Anything like that is always a team effort, and we have to get better at it.”
This hasn’t been a major problem for Flacco throughout his career. Since entering the league in 2008, he has had 62 passes batted down at the line, which ranks 18th in the NFL.
In Flacco’s previous 10 NFL seasons, he never has ranked higher than 16th in any year in deflected passes.
"It is what it is, and it’s something we’ll continue to pay attention to as the year goes on,” Flacco said. "There are some that you can’t prevent, but at the same time, you have to look at it for what it is. There has to be a reason behind it. We have to correct it.”