In the latest carousel that is the Denver Broncos’ QB situation, Joe Flacco will be the newest signal caller to step under center since being acquired via trade from Baltimore. Behind him will be Drew Locke, rookie QB from Missouri. While many see it as the veteran’s job to groom the presumed future at that position, Flacco doesn’t see it the same way. He feels that it is up to Locke to learn and absorb without guiding him along. “Listen, I have so many things to worry about. I’m trying to go out there and play the best football of my life,” Flacco told reporters Monday following 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.”
Does that mean that Lock is incapable and needs someone to guide him? That’s hardly the case. In 2017, he passed for 3,964 yards and 44 TDs. He followed that with 3,498 yards and 28 TDs in 2018. Some felt that he was worth taking in the first round as a potential starter. So, he doesn’t exactly need his hand held. However, when someone in his position can be mentored by a veteran who has won a Super Bowl, it’s something one would hope to take advantage of. Flacco thinks that mentoring from a distance and absorbing knowledge from offensive coordinator, Rich Scangarello, is the approach Lock should use. “I hope (Lock) does learn from me because that means we’re out there and we’re slinging it around and having a lot of fun,” Flacco said. “I’m not a selfish person, I don’t think. There are times where you have to be selfish. Rich Scangarello 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.” Coach Vic Fangio echoed that sentiment by saying, “It’s on Drew(Lock) to soak in and learn.”
Like I said, Drew doesn’t need a handler. Yes, it is ultimately up to him to learn as much as he can from coaches and what he can pick up visually. Flacco is not required to do anything other than what he was brought in to do by Elway. Yes, he does have to learn a new system to run the Broncos offense. That’s nothing new to quarterbacks or anyone playing other positions. He doesn’t get a pass there. Charles Barkley claimed he wasn’t a role, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t one. Flacco is the leader of that team. The team needs to know that as their leader, he will invest in each of them. So, he needs to lose the “I’m here to win games and collect a paycheck” attitude. The team is supposed to be a cohesive unit, with each member working together to make sure the parts work. That “I’m here to win games” sentiment reminds me of the movie “The Replacements”. Before the final game of the season, the starting QB, Eddie Martel, decided to cross the line and end his strike. This led replacement QB Shane Falco, played by Keanu Reeves, to walk away, handing the reigns back to the original leader of the offense. In the first half of that game, it was completely disastrous under Martel’s guidance. He couldn’t get the team, filled mostly still of replacement players, to play for him. He didn’t respect them and let them know that frequently while touting his accomplishments. Once more, he made sure the players knew he was there to get paid and win games. At halftime, in danger of losing this pivotal last game, Falco returned and the team booted Martel out of the locker room. Ultimately, his squad won the game. More importantly, Shane Falco had the respect of his team due to giving his heart and soul to them. That is the attitude Flacco needs to take on; especially since he’s getting paid the sum of $25 million a year. If he’s not willing to go the extra mile for that amount and more importantly for his cast of players, being “here to win games” isn’t going to happen.
So, what has led to this way of thinking? Could there be some bitterness still lingering from being ousted by Baltimore in favor of Lamar Jackson? As a Ravens fan, I felt the move as a bit premature, but he was traded none-the-less. Joe now has a new home with a new start. On paper, he’s not required to be Drew Lock’s “Mr. Miyagi”. However, as a professional and a veteran of the game, he should take it upon himself to pour into those coming behind him. While Lock will benefit from his offensive coordinator’s teaching, it just doesn’t reach the same beneficial level of learning he would receive from a Super Bowl winning QB. Flacco stated that he doesn’t think he’s a selfish player, but there are times that he must be. That can be true of any person. However, when he has the opportunity to give back to the game that has given so much to him, being selfish should not come into play. Lock is eager for the opportunity to be under Flacco’s wing and went so far as to tell reporters he’s “excited to learn from a guy who’s won a Super Bowl.” While it may not be Joe Flacco’s official job to groom Drew Lock, being a seasoned veteran and a leader requires him to do just that.
I am a 2003 graduate from the University of Alabama with a degree in Exercise Science. While at the Capstone, I served as a student assistant with the head strength and conditioning coach of the Crimson Tide football team. I have competed in both powerlifting and bodybuilding for several years. In addition, I have served athletes and people through the arena of personal training. Jesus is my Lord and Savior. I am a passionate fan of Alabama, but do not make other fan bases miserable because of it. College football has my heart first, but I cover all areas of sports. Follow me on Twitter: @justinriley7!