On the first day of this week’s mandatory minicamp, Ravens coach John Harbaugh said it didn’t matter to Joe Flacco that the team had drafted heir apparent Lamar Jackson in the first round, that the incumbent starting quarterback would “be motivated anyway.”
On Wednesday, just one day later, safety Eric Weddle spoke with the perspective of a fellow 33-year-old. Of course the offseason moves, starting with the arrival of Robert Griffin III, mattered to Flacco, Weddle said. He had been “challenged.”
“It's lit a fire under him,” said Weddle, who called Flacco’s offseason “outstanding.” “You can tell, and he's shown. He's worked extremely hard.”
"I’ve been in here since after the Pro Bowl every week, and he’s been in here rehabbing, and the medical staff has done a great job," said Eric Weddle on CB Jimmy Smith's recovery. (Baltimore Sun video)
Weddle said Flacco is “obviously a step ahead” of Jackson and Griffin, an assessment reflected in the lion’s share of repetitions he’s gotten under center this week.
Weddle praised Griffin, who last played in 2016, for his ability to make “some unbelievable throws” in a new system. With Jackson, the No. 32 overall pick in the NFL draft and 2016 Heisman Trophy winner, he was more effusive in his praise but also more conscious of his limitations.
“Lamar is just a talent," he said. “He can do things that not many guys can do, getting out of the pocket and rolling. When he gets in the open field, he's just a special runner.
“But it's going to take some time for him in the pocket and throwing and doing the things necessary to be an effective quarterback in this league, and that's just reality. But he's got a live arm. He can zing it in there. He's just going to take some time.”