Joe Flacco is apparently a very busy man. He plays for the Denver Broncos now after 11 years in Baltimore and there is so much to do, so many people to meet, a new system to learn. You’ve got the sympathize with him.
In fact, the quarterback will be so preoccupied getting acclimated with his new environment he likely won’t have any spare time to help rookie Drew Lock learn how to become an NFL quarterback.
“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,” Flacco said Monday, after the Broncos’ first day of organized team activities. “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.”
You’ve got to wonder what was going through Flacco’s mind as that stream of consciousness was sifting from his trap. You’d think he want to make a good initial impression on the organization, particularly with the young players who might actually consider using Flacco as a mentor.
After all, he’s seen and experienced things that would help the rookies avoid pratfalls as they initially tiptoe around a confusing and intimidating landscape. Why convey the idea he’s shut them down right off the bat?
We don’t know how long Flacco shot the breeze with the media on Monday at the team’s training facility. It could have been 15 to 20 minutes and it could have covered a variety of topics and concerns. But you can bet every headline written about the conversation – including ours – centered on his point of view about keeping an eye on Lock or any other young QB the Broncos are hoping to develop.
“Listen, I hope he does learn from me because that means we’re out there and we’re slinging it around and having a lot of fun,” Flacco added.
Just don’t bother him with stupid questions when he’s trying to get his reps in with the receivers.
Flacco said the majority of his time will be spent making sure he understands the offensive being installed by offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello. If the Broncos are going to be successful in the very competitive AFC West, those two will need to be in lockstep. And Flacco believes its Scangarello’s job, not his, to develop the QBs below him on the depth chart.
“I’m not a selfish person, I don’t think,” Flacco said. “There are times where you have to be selfish. But listen, Rich does such a good job in those meeting rooms. Drew is going to learn from listening to him talk and then us getting the reps on the field and seeing how we all do it as a collective group of quarterbacks.”
As for Lock’s steps, he will be required to learn at his own pace, just like every other draft pick brought into camp. He was the 42nd overall pick in the second round.
After losing his job in Baltimore to Lamar Jackson’s last season, Flacco may be feeling somewhat under siege, which would account for his apparent disinterest in helping develop a kid viewed as his ultimate successor.
Much of his time in the spring was spent trying to convince the Broncos they didn’t need to draft his possible successor.
“I don’t really care about whether they take a quarterback or not,” Flacco said before the draft. “The only thing I care about is, like I said, I want this team to be as good as they can with me at quarterback. If we feel like as a team and an organization that we can add value to our team at the 10th pick, then I’m all for getting a guy that can add value to the team with me as the understood quarterback. At the end of the day, it is what it is.”
And now he’s in much the same situation as Eli Manning with the New York Giants, who must play alongside Daniel Jones, the sixth-overall pick, who most certainly is the anointed successor.
“There is definitely little things that motivate you every year,” Flacco said. “At the same time, I have plenty of other things that have kept me motivated throughout my career and will continue to keep me motivated this year. That won’t be the single or the biggest thing.”
The Broncos first-year coach, Vic Fangio, seems to support the idea Lock will likely being on his own for some time.
“That’s on Drew to soak in and learn. Joe’s learning a new system himself,” Fangio said. “As we move along, there will be a lot more interaction to get to know each other, but primarily it’s on Drew to learn.”
“It will definitely be a different transition,” Lock said. “… If I’m going through this transition I’m glad to be behind Joe and hear what he has to say, learn from him. I’m excited to meet him, excited to get in the room with him and learn from a guy who’s won a Super Bowl.”
That is how you are supposed to feel in this situation. Good for him.
The Broncos have said Lock, Brent Rypien and Kevin Hogan are competing for the backup job. But who is kidding who here? Denver didn’t take Lock that high to relegate him to carrying a clipboard in 2019.
The reports from the first day of workouts say Flacco had good day. He was in command in the huddle and with this throws. He won a Super Bowl in Baltimore and when he’s on point he certainly represents the best QB the Broncos have had since Peyton Manning.
Flacco is also coming off a hip injury that sidelined him in Baltimore and opened the door for Jackson’s rise. Flacco has proven somewhat brittle and inconsistent over the last few years, so it would be in Denver’s best interest to get Lock ready as soon as possible.
Just don’t ask Flacco to be the one taking responsibility for it. He’s on his own.