Almost every team in the AFC North last year added a quarterback that they had a first-round grade on during the 2018 NFL Draft. Two of those teams had incumbent starters, and neither of them really talked about how eager they were to mentor their new proteges.
One of them threw for over 5000 yards. The other was Joe Flacco. And after Lamar Jackson took his job, the Baltimore Ravens shipped him off to the Denver Broncos, who subsequently selected quarterback Drew Lock in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft.
And guess what? It’s not his job to groom Lock, either. And that might well be true, but that won’t also prevent Lock from taking his job.
“Listen, I have so many things to worry about. I’m trying to go out there and play good football. I’m trying to go out there and play the best football of my life”, he told reporters on Monday when asked about his relationship with Lock going forward.
“As far as a time constraint and all of that stuff, I’m not worried about developing guys or any of that. That is what it is. I hope he does it well. I don’t look at that as my job. My job is to go win football games for this football team”.
Nothing that Flacco is saying is wrong, by any means. He was brought in, ostensibly, to be the Broncos’ starter, at least until they find themselves a better option, and the number one job of a starting quarterback is always to maximize the team’s chances of winning games. Being the one on the field, that means making sure that you’re playing to the best of your abilities.
But he’s already gone down this road last year. After the Ravens drafted Jackson, Flacco didn’t even comment publicly for a while, and he didn’t necessarily always say the right things. He did say the right things after he got benched, though it’s easier to do so at that point.
With that said, I do feel a degree of sympathy for him. No matter how many millions you may have made, if you are somebody who truly loves the game, it can’t be easy to watch your time as a start slipping away.
You already lost your starting job to the team that drafted you. You got traded away to a quarterback-needy team, perhaps thinking that you would have time for a fresh start, only to watch them turn around and draft another quarterback. It’s déjà vu all over again.
Meanwhile, the Ravens move forward with Jackson at quarterback, and they drafted him two wide receivers in the first three rounds, something they never did for Flacco. And his top receiver is coming off a season-ending injury and not ready to work yet.