The first OTA practice of the year is always a place for boundless optimism and interest in the dry part of the offseason between the draft and training camp.
This is especially true with a new coaching staff installing systems on both sides of the ball.
Of course, all this interest can be turned into a bit of a distraction when the imported veteran quarterback says it isn’t his role to mentor the young gun, the potential franchise guy that many in Broncos Country have pinned hopes and dreams on.
Joe Flacco addressed the media for the first time since the Broncos drafted Drew Lock. Attached are his responses to questions if it's his job to mentor Lock.— James Palmer (@JamesPalmerTV) May 13, 2019
"I hope he does develop. But I don’t look at that as my job. My job is to go win football games for this football team." pic.twitter.com/Sw8bKdEOzW
Even amid all of the excitement Monday, the national media caught wind of the comments by Joe Flacco and did its best to make it the story of the day.
Take this report from Rotoworld - with which Orange and Blue 760’s Ryan Edwards took issue:
Some serious shade from @Rotoworld_FB after @JoeFlacco’s comments today. Ultimately, Joe is right..it’s Rich Scangarello’s job to develop Lock. Flacco is here to win games and keep his job. It was the same way with Peyton..you learn from being in the QB room not by his mentorship https://t.co/I7VI7HcneF pic.twitter.com/rfLGeSYym0— Ryan Edwards (@redwardsradio) May 13, 2019
Or this article by NFL Wire’s Doug Farrar, who lamented the fact that Flacco would not willingly serve as a mentor to Drew Lock as Alex Smith did for Patrick Mahomes when both were with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Never mind the fact that Ben Roethlisberger, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Brett Favre, and a number of other quarterbacks have all been far from welcoming to perceived threats in recent NFL history.
Or the fact that Flacco’s comments were preceded by almost the exact same view from the Broncos head coach Vic Fangio:
“That’s on Drew to soak in and learn. Joe’s learning a new system himself. As we move along, there will be a lot more interaction to get to know each other, but primarily it’s on Drew to learn.”
Sure, it would be nice if Flacco helps Lock adapt to the NFL game. In fact, I’d be willing to bet he’ll do just that as the year moves along. All you have to do is look at how he handled the situation with Lamar Jackson in Baltimore last year to know Flacco was a resource for his replacement.
“The only things you can talk to him about are just letting the game come to him, be patient, maybe some of the things I’m [seeing] out there – just understanding some of the things that go through your head during the course of a football game, and just trying to settle him down and try to make him feel at ease.”
“Joe’s been handling it great,” wide receiver John Brown added. “He’s been in Lamar’s corner. I’ve seen him the whole time. Every time he comes off the sideline, Joe is talking to him, telling him what he sees, trying to help him out. He’s been a great teammate.”
If that doesn’t paint a picture, keep in mind that Flacco had an opportunity to tell the world “I told you so” following the Ravens 23-17 loss to the Chargers last January. If you’ll remember, Jackson had minus-2 net passing yards until 13 minutes remained in the game. He was so inept, Tony Romo and the home crowd were actively chanting for Flacco to come off the bench and try to save the day. He could have buried the rookie, but instead, the veteran took the high road.
“You can’t even go there, man,” Flacco said. “I thought Lamar did a great job of hanging in there and giving us a chance at the end.”
So don’t tell me how Flacco focusing on himself is hurting the team. The best possible long-term strategy for the Broncos is if the 34-year old plays well for 16(+?) games in 2019 and Drew Lock has the opportunity to sit, learn and take the time to refine his mechanics away from the live fire. The only way that happens is if this Denver team wins games, and the only way they do that is if the signal caller is completely focused on taking control of his football team.
Your Broncos Links
Joe Flacco is your starter, but Drew Lock and Brett Rypien will compete for the backup spot with split reps there in OTAs.
Observation from Day 1 of OTAs: Flacco looked like 10-year-plus NFL starter he is; Lock played like it was first day on job.— Mike Klis (@MikeKlis) May 13, 2019
Liked the Flacco edge in presser when asked about mentoring the kid. That's why they pay coaches. Flacco time better served helping Broncos win. #9sports https://t.co/Qx43sShTBb
“I’m trying to go out there and play good football. I’m trying to go out there and play the best football of my life. As far as a time constraint and all of that stuff, I’m not worried about developing guys or any of that. That is what it is. I hope he does it well. I don’t look at that as my job. My job is to go win football games for this football team.”
The Broncos’ first OTA of 2019 is in the books! Andrew Mason and Ryan Edwards dissect the practice, discussing the performances of quarterbacks Joe Flacco and Drew Lock, the work of rookies fresh off rookie minicamp and the tempo and tenor of the first OT
The Denver Broncos have announced four roster moves ahead of their OTAs this week.
The Denver Broncos got the best offensive line coach in all of the NFL and here’s the data to prove it.
In only a little more than a calendar year, the Denver Broncos have laid the foundation for a brand new offense.
Interesting note...— Sayre Bedinger (@SayreBedinger) May 13, 2019
Big Ten coaches voted Noah Fant the 1st-team all-conference TE this year and Hockenson 2nd-team. Doesn't necessarily mean anything but I found it interesting.#Broncos
The Denver Broncos GM has done an excellent job finding contributors even after the draft ends.
24. +DENVER BRONCOS (6-10) The spring has gone rather well for the Broncos … assuming Joe Flacco can play. Even if he can’t, and the Broncos are more optimistic about him than anyone in the state of Maryland, Denver GM John Elway backstopped the quarterback position pretty well by stealing Drew Lock with the 42nd pick in the draft. But the best thing that’s happened in Denver since season’s end is the hire of Vic Fangio, because he’s long-past due at a head-coaching shot, and he can command a room, and he’s the kind of football guy his players will respect from day one. The storm clouds, for me, are the fate of Chris Harris (contract dispute), whether Flacco can recreate the old days from Baltimore, and whether the line can protect Flacco.
Percentage of passing yards that came through the air vs. yds after the catch (2018, min 125 att):— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) May 13, 2019
1. Winston, 68%
2. Fitzpatrick, 62%
3. Flacco, 60%
4. Wilson, 59%
5. Luck, 59%
30. Tannehill, 46%
31. Stafford, 45%
32. Mullens, 45%
33. Bortles, 45%
34. Roethlisberger, 44%
I’m sure anyone reading this is aware that CHJ is unhappy with the last year of his current contract, and has not been participating in team activities to date in an attempt to increase his leverage for a contract renegotiation and extension.
Wrote about the cornerback age wall yesterday. Here are the charts from that piece.— Jeffrey Essary (@JeffreyEssary) May 12, 2019
Variables are Pro Bowls, 1st team All-Pro Selections and Seasons starting 12+ games all sorted by age.
Data covers 500+ cornerbacks from 2008 - 2018https://t.co/8H3bCrOjF4 pic.twitter.com/05EOsxPUyF
The Denver Broncos and Chris Harris Jr. are working towards a contract resolution. Can the two sides find some middle ground?
MHR’s Jeffrey Essary joined 1st & 10 @ 10 on Friday to answer that question and talk about rookie minicamp.
A four-year Boise State starter is now Broncos’ No. 4 QB.
Josh Watson with an INT — tipped at line by Billy Winn, thrown by Drew Lock.— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) May 13, 2019
Mike Klis of KUSA reported on Saturday that the Broncos won’t trade Chris Harris, and I can understand why it would be hard to get great value for him. Harris only has one year left on his deal—he’s due $7.9 million ($7.8 million base, $100,000 workout bonus), which is a bargain for a player of his caliber, of course. But if you’re dealing for him you either have to be comfortable having him as a one-year rental (and that he’ll even report if you treat him as one), or paying him long-term at the top of the market with 30th birthday a month away. Getting premium draft capital for a player in that circumstance, no matter how good he is, will always be a tough ask. So the Broncos are trying now to resolve this. I’m told both GM John Elway and chief negotiator Mike Sullivan have spoken personally with Harris’ agent, Fred Lyles, over the last few days. Lyles has laid out what Harris wants. And this week, the Broncos will come back with a counter. As we mentioned a couple weeks back, what Denver gave Kareem Jackson (three years, $33 million, albeit with nothing really guaranteed past his $12 million in 2019) has been a point of contention.
I agree with Flacco here, FWIW. I don't want him focused on Lock or teaching him. That's what we pay Scangarello for. I want Flacco focused on winning games for as long as he can.— Jeffrey Essary (@JeffreyEssary) May 13, 2019
Doesn't mean he won't be friendly or helpful to the young guys, but he's right. It's not his job. https://t.co/UUvbCNW9gO
Which Denver Broncos players compare to characters from Endgame?
“You want to give a guy early in his development a home,” Fangio said. “Then once he fills that home, or proves that that’s not his home, then we’ll move him around.”
Malik Reed is impressive. Outstanding speed off the edge. One play saw him rush Drew Lock from the right, and only a hold kept him from getting a sack.— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) May 13, 2019
The Broncos’ rookies class got back to work on the field on Saturday for the second day of the team’s 2019 rookie minicamp.
Take an inside look at the Broncos’ third and final practice of their 2019 rookie minicamp.
Broncos quarterback Brett Rypien explains why he chose the Broncos as a college free agent and how he plans to lean on fellow rookie Drew Lock and the Broncos’ veteran quarterbacks.
“We talked [about] that to them the other night,” Head Coach Vic Fangio said Sunday. “They’ve got to adjust. That’s why the first few days they won’t get as many reps as the other guys. They’re going to be observing, and when they get their reps, take full advantage of them. Notice the competition, notice the uptick in talent and be ready to go.”
Broncos G/C Nico Falah is being carted off the field. Went down with a left leg injury while OL was working on the side. Was in a good amount of pain. Put no pressure on it heading into the locker room.— James Palmer (@JamesPalmerTV) May 13, 2019
We fans want progress and a plan. Have the Broncos done enough to take a step forwards toward Super Bowl contention?
So... First day of #Broncos OTAs.— T. Kothe (@tkothe_nfl) May 13, 2019
Consider this your reminder that we're still two months away from the important stuff, and that any given completion (or incompletion) or other play made or missed is just one small data point that should be taken in stride.
The best guys are going to keep getting paid. Wentz will. Patrick Mahomes will. But what happens with guys who are a level down? That’s a question that a lot of teams are asking. The Cowboys’ negotiation with Dak Prescott hasn’t been, and won’t be, an easy one. The same, you’d think, might go for Mitchell Trubisky in a couple years, if he doesn’t make huge leaps forward.
In every draft, there are teams hunting for a franchise quarterback. Some years, there just isn’t a franchise quarterback to be found. The 2013 NFL draft was one of those years.
My favorite Gunther Cunningham memory is how much he loved Calvin Johnson. Cunningham coached defense and Johnson played offense but Cunningham talked often about how Johnson was one of his favorite players he'd ever been around. pic.twitter.com/Nf1eajj49s— Michael David Smith (@MichaelDavSmith) May 13, 2019
Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph may soon get the clarity he wants. But he may not like how it’s all clarified. Coach Mike Zimmer addressed Rudolph’s tenuous status on Monday, with a message that didn’t start in ominous fashion but ended up there.
In one of the best Super Bowl performances that may soon be forgotten, the Los Angeles defense held the high-powered Patriots to just 13 points. We talk with Sean McVay, Wade Phillips and key defensive contributors to learn the inside story of that game—and what to expect from the Rams’ defense going forward.
While many other sports leagues have normalized jersey advertisements, the NFL remains a holdout. How long will the league continue to leave this money on the table?