OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco is working with his fourth different offensive coordinator in as many years. His options in the passing game have undergone a makeover after veteran wide receiver Torrey Smith and tight end Owen Daniels signed elsewhere in free agency.
What hasn't changed -- and this was underscored after Thursday's organized team activity -- is coach John Harbaugh's support of Flacco.
"This guy is a superstar in the National Football League," Harbaugh said. "I'm thrilled to have him and I can't wait to see what he does this year with all of that young talent around him."
It's not unusual to hear Harbaugh passionately backing Flacco. He called Flacco "the best quarterback in football" twice toward the end of last season.
The way that Harbaugh steered the conversation in that direction Thursday was unexpected. Asked about how Flacco has guided the Ravens to the playoffs despite constant change in playcallers and personnel, Harbaugh took the opportunity to deliver an ardent defense of the only quarterback who has started for him in Baltimore.
"I'm not going to swallow that hook. Joe Flacco has been a great quarterback since the day he got here, OK?," Harbaugh said after his team's second OTA of the year. "You want to look back and say this has been the most talented offense in the National Football League for the last seven years and they've carried Joe Flacco? You can say that if you want, but it's ridiculous."
Whether Flacco is elite or not has become a heated debate over the years. Flacco has more victories (82, including playoffs) than any other quarterback since he entered the NFL in 2008, but he has never thrown 4,000 yards passing or more than 27 touchdowns. He has never been named to a Pro Bowl, but he has won at least one playoff game in six of the past seven seasons.
"Joe Flacco is a great player. He's only going to get better," Harbaugh said. "I think he's hitting his stride, hitting the peak of his career, and I wouldn't want any other quarterback in the National Football League -- period. End of story. So, just write that and be done with it, because that's the last I really want to hear about it. ... All set? I'm going to drop the bat on that one, and walk off. "