Flacco needs to improve pocket presence

Since Joe Flacco's exceptional start to the season, the fifth-year Ravens quarterback seems to have slowly tailed off.

The area that has been most noticeable is in the way he handles himself in the pocket. Notorious for holding the ball too long and being a little indecisive at times earlier in his career, Flacco seems to be struggling with that again.

Flacco performed quite well over the Ravens' first four games, averaging 317.3 passing yards while passing for seven touchdowns and four interceptions.

He passed for at least 230 yards in five of Baltimore's first six games. But in the seven contests since, Flacco has been held to fewer than 200 yards through the air five times. He surpassed 340 yards in the other two contests.

His slide has reached its peak over the Ravens' last four games. During that stretch, Flacco has thrown for 188 yards or fewer three times, taking 12 sacks and fumbling five times, losing two.

He has fumbled in four consecutive games to give him eight on the season, which is tied for eighth-most among NFL quarterbacks.

Usually positive coach John Harbaugh acknowledged that Flacco needs to have better pocket presence and awareness to get back on track.

"Absolutely. That's something that he's very much aware of," Harbaugh said. "You turn the ball over, you put yourself in jeopardy. I don't care what position it is. So when you play that position and you're in the pocket, you need to protect that football. That's something that we need to be better at going down the stretch."