Preston: Ravens' Flacco takes the right stance in quarterback debate
By Mike Preston
The Baltimore Sun|
May 07, 2018 | 1:15 PM
Head Coach John Harbaugh, QB Lamar Jackson and TE Hayden Hurst comment on Ravens rookie mini-camp. (Algerina Perna / Baltimore Sun video)
It's been more than a week since the NFL draft and not one person has asked whether Ravens coach John Harbaugh will be fired at the end of the 2018 season.
There have been no questions about the future of offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg or general manager Ozzie Newsome.
It's a good time to be member of the Ravens organization.
You can't even get a good quarterback controversy out of them even though they drafted Louisville's Lamar Jackson in the first round, which could be a farewell sign to veteran quarterback Joe Flacco.
There is optimism around the Ravens that hasn't been there for years. Even after the draft fans are usually still hung over from the previous season because the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers get in the playoffs, and the Ravens don't.
And then the Ravens gloat about their draft picks but none go on to become impact players.
But this season is different. Maybe it's because the Orioles are so pathetic. Maybe there is a sense of excitement because the Ravens went out and drafted some high-caliber offensive talent in tight ends Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews. And maybe they found some hidden possible treasures in rookie wide receivers Jaleel Scott and Jordan Lasley to go along with free-agent additions Michael Crabtree, John Brown and Willie Snead.
And then there is Jackson of Heisman Trophy fame.
To some around town it's a big deal that Flacco hasn't reached out to Jackson, but not to me. I couldn't care less whether he posts on Jackson's Facebook page or whether they break bread.
I just want Flacco to win Sundays. That's the bottom line in the NFL. Just win, baby.
Flacco has never been the big social guy with the Ravens. That's Eric Weddle's job. When there is a shared interest between the Ravens and a free agent it is Weddle who becomes Mr. Tweet and rolls out the red carpet and hands him a key to the city.
He didn't call Steve Smith Sr. when the Ravens were courting him. I don't think he called Mike Wallace, either. That's not Flacco's style. Here's a guy who doesn't seem to communicate much with his teammates on the sideline during a game, yet all of a sudden he is supposed to become a diplomat for a player who was drafted to eventually replace him?
Time for a reality check here: Did anyone actually think Flacco was going to do cartwheels and high-five Newsome for selecting Jackson?
Flacco could have been as outspoken as Pittsburgh's drama queen quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who questioned the team's decision to draft Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph in the third round. Roethlisberger reportedly said he planned to play three to five more years and basically suggested that Rudolph get used to standing on the sidelines with his baseball cap turned backwards and a clipboard in his hands.
Every quarterback in the NFL, including Flacco, has an ego, but Roethlisberger resides on another planet. I am sure Flacco is just as disappointed as Roethlisberger, maybe even more, but it serves no purpose to pop off.
One of the best things about sports is that when the practices start almost all of the animosity and cultural and racial differences are forgotten because winning takes precedence over almost anything else.
When Roethlisberger steps out on the field with Rudolph and Flacco practices with Robert Griffin III and Jackson they'll be competitive, but they'll help each other. That's all within the team concept.
Flacco will be fine. He knows the starting job is his to lose and it's way too early to even think about rocking the boat. The Ravens are riding a high.
They just drafted 12 players, the most by the team in a single class since they selected the same number in 1997. They can run a two tight-end offense, which brings back memories of what the Patriots did with Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez.
They have a good core of young players on defense and this unit could take the next step if linebackers Tyus Bowser and Tim Williams play up to their potential. According to one Ravens official, the Ravens received a slight bump in ticket sales and a lot of positive communication from fans about the draft.
Who needs a quarterback controversy?
To have one there has to be two possible starters. Right now there is only one and that's Flacco. And he'll remain that way as long as he does his talking on the field instead of off it.