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Monday, October 15, 2018

Report: Joe Flacco has ‘gotten the message’ after Ravens pick Lamar Jackson

Joe Flacco

The overwhelming belief after the Ravens drafted Lamar Jackson in the first round is that Joe Flacco has just one season remaining in Baltimore, but the veteran quarterback may put up a fight before the team ushers in a new era.

In his latest column for The MMQB, Peter King reports that Flacco understands the Ravens are likely planning to move on from him in 2019, if not sooner. How the 33-year-old responds to the situation will be worth monitoring.

Joe Flacco’s gotten the message. That’s what I hear. And he’s too smart not to have gotten it. Flacco, 33, understands the trade-up pick of Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson means the Ravens have noticed his sub-.500 record and 82.4 passer rating in the past three years, regardless how much is his fault. The quarterback always takes major blame when an offense is lousy, and Baltimore’s has been bad—29th, 12th and 29th in passing yards in the past three seasons.

What’s more, the Ravens are a boring offense. They excite no one. They’re inefficient—and you can’t blame only Flacco, because the receiving group has been consistently disappointing too. When I saw this pick, I said I bet this is about more than dissatisfaction with Flacco. It’s about making the team exciting again in a market that has grown blasé, and throwing some change-ups with an electric quarterback. Flacco will get the first shot, and he may well play well enough to beat back Jackson. We’ll see.

The Ravens have made it clear that they still consider Flacco their starting QB, but they can save $18.5 million in salary cap space if they cut him next offseason. If his performance in 2018 is on par with the 83.1, 83.5 and 80.4 passer ratings he has posted the past three years, releasing him will be a no-brainer. In order for Flacco to prove he is worthy of being kept around, he might have to have something close to a Pro Bowl season.

Even if Baltimore has committed to Flacco as its starter, it sounds as if Jackson will have some role in the team’s offense immediately. Should the Ravens look better when Jackson is on the field, it would not be a surprise if he took Flacco’s job sooner rather than later.

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