Report: Joe Flacco's Camp Performance 'Far and Away' His Best of Ravens Career

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJuly 30, 2018

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, right, throws a pass in front of quarterback Robert Griffin III during an NFL football training camp practice at the team's headquarters in Owings Mills, Md., Thursday, July 19, 2018. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

The Baltimore Ravens selected Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson in the first round of the NFL draft this year, calling into question whether the team would have a quarterback controversy this summer.

But thus far, Joe Flacco has appeared to rise to the challenge. 

As Peter King of NBC Sports wrote: "One longtime Ravens observer told me here Thursday that this first week of camp for Flacco has been 'far and away' the best he's looked in camp in his 11 years as a Raven."

Obviously, it's early in training camp and Jackson is still learning the offense, while Flacco has been in Baltimore for 10 years. But Flacco's performance has turned more than a few heads.

"I see Joe Flacco out there," head coach John Harbaugh told King. "Healthy. Obviously very determined."

"That's an NFL quarterback," Jackson added. "I'm learning a lot watching him."

Flacco, 33, did not turn heads last season. The veteran threw for just 3,141 yards, 18 touchdowns and 13 interceptions, completing 64.1 percent of his passes. Pro Football Focus gave him a grade of 76.6, 24th among quarterbacks.

In the process, the Ravens threw for just 189 yards per game, 29th in the NFL. But the team bolstered its weapons in the offseason, adding John Brown, Michael Crabtree, Willie Snead and rookie tight ends Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews.

But the addition that earned the headlines was Jackson. Was he brought in to light a fire under Flacco? Is he simply short-term insurance and a long-term investment? 

The Ravens have maintained that they'll utilize both players this season, likely finding creative ways to get Jackson involved, given his impressive athleticism and dynamism with the ball in his hands.

"We have ideas. People are seeing it out here," Harbaugh told King. "Sometimes Lamar will be the quarterback. Sometimes we'll have two quarterbacks. Sometimes Joe will be doing something else. Sometimes Lamar will be doing something else. We'll try to be creative. That's really about all I can tell you: We're going to try to be creative with them."

As for Flacco, he's trying to handle what he can control. 

"There's definitely a certain feeling you have," he told King about Jackson being drafted. "I don't know if it's the worst feeling in the world, but it's definitely means something. There's definitely a little bit of a message in there. But this is the NFL, man. I've been in it for 10 years, seen pretty much everything. Surprised by this [the drafting of Jackson] a little bit.