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3 & Out with Ryan Michael: What does Joe Flacco bring to the Broncos?

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I spoke with a quarterback statistician to get answers regarding the Denver Broncos trade for Joe Flacco.

NFL: AFC Wild Card-Los Angeles Chargers at Baltimore Ravens
Flacco isn’t exciting, but maybe he doesn’t have to be.
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

It’s impossible to deny that John Elway is at least trying to find a solution to the Bronco quarterback issues. With the recent trade for Joe Flacco the Broncos get an experienced former first rounder. I thought the trade made for a great opportunity to speak with QB statistician Ryan Michael about what it meant for your favorite team going forward.

1st and 10:

What do you think of the Joe Flacco deal? Is he an upgrade over Case Keenum?

For the cost of a fourth round pick, it was worth a shot. The quarterback market is slim this year and unfortunately, there just aren’t enough great options available to fill up the 32 spots.

Flacco’s never been as good as his Super Bowl run had many people believing, but I don’t think his situation has done him many favors in recent years either. His defense has massaged the W-L record but offensively, it’s been rough.

I do think he’s an upgrade over Keenum, who like Flacco following his Super Bowl run, was never going to replicate his league-leading DVOA season from 2017. Flacco may be more of a “boom or bust” addition, with a greater likelihood to be the latter, but Denver has been a team in desperate need of “boom” since Peyton Manning retired.

2nd and 7:

What does he bring to the offense? I haven’t watched a ton of tape on Flacco but know he has a better deep ball than Keenum. Should Courtland Sutton be excited?

Flacco’s deep ball passing has not matched the potential of his arm-strength. Conservative, easy and too often short of the sticks, which has to be frustrating for a quarterback who can sling it when needed. I don’t think his arm is where it was 5 years ago, but the “potential” is there and GMs sure do gush over quarterback potential.

3rd and 3:

What does this say about the Broncos pursuit of a franchise QB in your opinion?

They passed on Josh Rosen last year, which probably leaves them feeling pretty good right now given how much Rosen struggled in 2018.

But so did they. 6-10 isn’t a record Denver should be complacent about. Every year we hear great talk about Mile High expectations and every year since they won the Lombardi, Broncos fans have been spending too many Sunday’s kicking and screaming. Elway’s continuous push to band-aid the quarterback position has left the team vulnerable. So I wouldn’t rule out seeing them make a move for a quarterback in this year’s draft.

There’s been rumors through ever corner of the NFL that Elway is infatuated with Missouri Tiger Drew Lock, any thoughts on him as a prospect?

Like the rest of us, I’ve seen Lock mocked to Denver. I’ve heard him referred to as a dollar store version of Patrick Mahomes. That may be too harsh. He has many of the measurable tools for his game to translate well at the NFL level.

Lock’s no lock to be the next big thing. But with only a fourth round pick invested into a 34 year-old quarterback with recent injury issues, it’s worth consideration.

4th and 1:

How does Flacco change the Broncos long term outcome? Does this make them a playoff contender?

Flacco at 34 is not a long-term solution. They can’t possibly expect a career-year out of a quarterback who hasn’t made the Pro Bowl once in 11 seasons. But the signing of a name-brand helps ease some of the pressure from an optics standpoint. They can at least say they tried.

If their defense is at their best, there’s always a chance that a below-average quarterback can get them into the postseason. In my opinion, Flacco has about a 25% chance of being somewhere between “pretty good” and “good” but he’s more likely to be average or worse.

Like casting John Travolta for the next straight to Redbox film. Would you expect a strong acting performance? Mmmaybe, but probably not.