Every day at Ravens headquarters has been like a pop quiz for Flacco.

Inside the quarterbacks room, Jackson would break down defensive fronts, coverages and tendencies on film in front of all the quarterbacks.

At different points, he would stop the tape and ask: "What would you do in this situation?"

"Sometimes I have no idea what the answer is," Flacco said.

This could be the most important part of Flacco's education. To stay on course, he has had to admit the times when he was lost.

"You can't be afraid to say, 'Coach, I don't understand,' " Flacco said. "You don't want to come up with some answer and them not explain it to you. Then you'll never understand."

Boller, who was in Flacco's situation five years ago, can tell the rookie is becoming more comfortable based on his interaction inside the quarterbacks room.

"If you compared him from the first week until now, his personality has grown exponentially," Boller said. "When you're a rookie, you got so many different things you're thinking about. It's hard to be yourself. But he's doing an awesome job."

At his home
The transition to the NFL can be tougher when your father and brother are stand-ins for Todd Heap and Derrick Mason.

Flacco didn't have a choice because an NFL- NCAA rule barred him from Ravens headquarters for nearly all of May.

So, Flacco used family members as targets to stay sharp with the playbook. Asked whether his father ran good routes, Flacco said, "Well, he's getting a little old, so we would just kind of place him in an area."

Flacco remained in contact with the Ravens, talking every other day during that time with Jackson. The conversations typically lasted 1 1/2 hours.

"It would have been hard if you are dealing with a guy who doesn't have the capacity to retain information like Joe does," Jackson said.

Jackson said this unusual style of instruction could help in games.

By going over the playbook verbally on the phone, Flacco would make adjustments by picturing it in his head rather than needing to have it drawn up on the chalkboard.

"I think the foundation has been set," Jackson said. "I haven't seen one bit of hesitation. He doesn't say, 'Oh, gosh, this is hard.' He says, 'Oh, gosh, give me more.' "

On the field
Flacco has generated excitement among team officials every time he steps on the practice field.

He throws high-arcing 50-yard passes with ease. He moves surprisingly well, rolling out of the pocket smoothly for a 6-foot-6 quarterback.

But the excitement extends beyond his athletic capabilities.

Whenever Flacco has fouled up - whether fumbling a snap or holding on to the ball too long - he generally has followed it up with solid play.

"He's made plenty of mistakes, but I haven't seen him repeat a mistake yet," coach John Harbaugh said. "He learns quickly."

The Ravens are hopeful that Flacco will soon master the playbook and quickly recognize defensive coverages.

But their confidence stems from Flacco's poise, which is one part of the game that can never be taught.

"I don't think this environment is too big for him," Jackson said. "He's willing to work and put in the extra work. He doesn't just want to be good. He has the desire to be great."

jamison.hensley@baltsun.com