The idea that Lamar Jackson is going to push Joe Flacco is a valid one. However, Flacco would have been motivated whether or not the Ravens drafted a quarterback in the 1st round:
Joe Flacco has been the Ravens quarterback for a very long time. Flacco has been the starting quarterback since 2008 and it seemed obvious that the Flacco era is much closer to the end than the beginning. The Ravens could realistically say goodbye to Flacco next offseason. Just based on his contract, this is a season where Flacco has to worry about his job. That would still be the case if Jackson wasn’t here.
Flacco has been a franchise quarterback for 10 seasons. It’s not out of the realm of possibilities that Flacco could retire in a couple of years, but Flacco isn’t done just yet. With the contract situation giving the Ravens a viable out after this season, Flacco is auditioning for a job. It’s either to stay the leader of the purple and black or to build interest for another team. Either way, if he wants to keep playing, this is an audition.
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A Legacy to protect
Flacco has a legacy to protect. He may be a very criticized quarterback, but he’s in pretty elite company as far as his resume is concerned. Quarterback turnover is not rare in the NFL, because there are never 32 guys who are great at the job. Flacco has lasted a decade. Flacco has won a Super Bowl and he was even the Super Bowl MVP. He may not be an all-time great but he has had all-time great moments with a list of records to his name.
Flacco would feel pressure whether Jackson was here or not. He’s trying to keep his job, a job that he cares more about than people think. Flacco is the leader of the team, and now he has to earn the right to keep it that way. Flacco has a lot to prove to the Ravens and the fans. More powerfully, he has a lot to prove to himself. That’s powerful motivation right there.
The dynamics of the Ravens quarterback situation aren’t that complicated. Flacco is the present, Jackson is the future and Robert Griffin III and Josh Woodrum won’t matter to the Ravens past August. The Ravens have no reason to rush Jackson, it’s the most obvious mistake they could make with him. The Ravens have every reason to keep Flacco under center for the 2018 season.
The Bottom Line
Joe Flacco would have been pushed one way or another. Jackson makes things interesting, but the situation hasn’t really changed for Flacco.