The Joe Flacco era with the Baltimore Ravens didn’t end when the team drafted Lamar Jackson in the first round, but now we have a pretty good idea how it will end.
When a team drafts a quarterback in the first round, the clock starts ticking on the starter. Alex Smith led the NFL in passer rating last season and the Kansas City Chiefs still traded him away, because they drafted Patrick Mahomes last year.
We don’t know exactly when Flacco will be replaced, but if Jackson plays up to the promise he showed in college, he’ll take the job at some point soon. Flacco seems to get that.
Flacco understands the Jackson pick means “something”
A lot has been made of Flacco’s reaction to Jackson (much like Ben Roethlisberger’s chilly reception to the Pittsburgh Steelers picking Mason Rudolph), and when he spoke to the media this week he gave some insight into his hold on the Ravens’ quarterback job.
“Obviously, when you pick a quarterback, when you pick anybody in the first round, it means something,” Flacco said, according to the team’s transcript. “I don’t know what that means. I don’t know exactly what it is, but that’s not my job to worry about what it is. My job, like I said, is to keep my approach exactly what it’s been for the last 10 years and help our team go win football games.”
All Flacco can do is play well and see what happens next. It’s not impossible to hold off a rookie first-round pick — Brett Favre held off Aaron Rodgers for a while, in one notable example — but it will be hard.
Jackson welcomed with “open arms” by Flacco
Flacco’s comments on him welcoming Jackson don’t align with what has been written about since the draft. Flacco refused to be interviewed at a Ravens draft event after the pick. He reportedly hadn’t returned Jackson’s texts or calls as of a couple weeks after the draft.
Flacco said the stories about not returning Jackson’s messages were overblown.
“I think it’s unfortunate that that’s what happens, like everybody just wants to talk about it and act like I’m holding some grudge, and that’s not how it is,” Flacco said. “I think you guys have been around me for a long time and you know the way I am. We welcome Lamar here with open arms, and that’s the same for me. At the same time, my approach doesn’t change. I want to go win football games this year, and we’ve got a lot of new guys that I have to get ready to play with and help us win those games. That’s the reality of it.”
Flacco’s Ravens future probably on the line
It’s an odd situation for any veteran quarterback and a highly-drafted rookie. Flacco isn’t there to coach Jackson; it’s his job to play quarterback for the Ravens. Yet, all eyes are on each veteran quarterback in that position, and how he reacts.
Right now the most pressing thing for Flacco is having a big season, because this season might determine how the Ravens handle the quarterback situation going forward.
“Yeah, who knows? We’re never promised anything, besides basically the down that we’re playing in this league,” Flacco said. “Like I said, you pick guys in the first round – whenever you pick guys – you pick them for a reason. I don’t know what the plan is, I don’t exactly know what’s going to happen, but I’m worried about right now. I’m worried about myself getting these guys ready, winning football games, and nothing is ever promised. That’s the reality of it for me.”
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