The Baltimore Ravens currently have three quarterbacks on their offseason roster that were first-round draft picks. According to a teammate, the oldest of those first-rounders hasn’t taken the arrival of the other two lightly.
That older quarterback is 33-year-old Joe Flacco, drafted in the 2008 NFL Draft, a starter from the get-go, and the winner of a Super Bowl MVP Award in 2012, though he has only taken his team back to the postseason once since then.
The Ravens brought in Robert Griffin III earlier this offseason, though never as a threat to his job. The other quarterback, however, is an entirely different matter. The team traded back into the first round to draft Lamar Jackson, and you don’t do that unless you intend for him to start for you at some point.
Eric Weddle, the All-Pro safety, believes that he has seen these moves influence Flacco this offseason, telling reporters that he has been “challenged”. In response, “it’s lit a fire under him”, he said. He went on to call his offseason work “outstanding” and said “you can tell, and he’s shown. He’s worked extremely hard”.
When it comes to a competition, Weddle also made clear to reporters that Flacco is “obviously a step ahead” of the other quarterbacks on the roster, and he said that in spite of the fact that he was also complimentary of how Griffin and Jackson have looked so far.
Flacco has only posted one season over the course of the past five years with a quarterback rating better than 84, once falling as low as 73.1. His quarterback rating of 80.4 during the 2017 season was the third-worst of his career, behind only 2013 and his rookie season in 2008, when he posted a rating of 80.3.
Despite starting all 16 games, he only completed 18 passes for touchdowns, throwing 13 interceptions. He averaged just 5.7 yards per pass attempt, quite easily the lowest of his career. He threw for just 3141 yards despite attempting 549 passes.
The Ravens have posted an overall record of 40-40 over the course of the past five seasons since they won the Super Bowl. They reached the postseason as a Wildcard team in 2014, defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Wildcard Round, but lost the following week in their only postseason appearance of that time period.
Baltimore obviously finds itself concerned with the future direction of the team and of the leadership at the quarterback position on the field. drafting a quarterback in the first round goes beyond just sending a message, so Flacco surely knows that his time is drawing near—even if he were not getting up there in football years.