Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco is supposedly ‘fired up’ this offseason. Why? He doesn’t care why, because he knows that everybody is going to say that it’s because of the team drafting quarterback Lamar Jackson in the first round anyway.
Even if that is probably the biggest reason behind his supposed new vigor.
Flacco spoke to reporters yesterday during the early stages of Baltimore’s training camp and fielded a number of questions that were predictably centered around his future in relation to Jackson. Asked if he felt the questions about the rookie would become annoying, he had a good answer to that.
“No, I don’t because I think we’re going to win and we’re not going to hear about it”, he said, insinuating that his play is going to keep the rookie on the bench. It must be noted, however, that the team is already practicing plays in which two quarterbacks are on the field—including Robert Griffin III.
A number of teammates spoke to reporters before Flacco did and talked about the veteran quarterback being more energized coming into this season. When he was asked to explain why that is the case, he responded with a question: “does it matter what I say?”.
“You guys are gonna [say] it comes from Lamar [being here] anyway”, he continued. He certainly is not dumb. He knows exactly what the narrative is—even if it is actually accurate—and I think his responses, while terse, were pretty much what you would want to hear from a starting quarterback.
Flacco must know that there is a very good chance he will not be the Ravens’ starting quarterback a year or two from now. He is motivated to elongate his stay in that role, and on the team, for as long as he possibly can.
But teams do not draft quarterbacks in the first round without having the intention to have them take over the job at some point during their rookie contract. Few teams ever develop a quality backup under a franchise quarterback and then move that piece, a la Jimmy Garoppolo, who still has much to prove as it is.
Interestingly enough, while Flacco does have a Super Bowl MVP under his belt, he is seemingly one of the few veteran starters around the league that has never been to the Pro Bowl, even as an alternate. Even Andy Dalton has multiple Pro Bowls. Jay Cutler made a Pro Bowl. Alex Smith has been in three.
Over the past five seasons since he helped the Ravens win the Super Bowl, Flacco has thrown 98 touchdowns against 74 interceptions in 74 games, averaging just 6.5 yards per pass attempt, with a completion percentage of 62.8 and a quarterback rating of 82.1.