No, Joe Flacco didn’t say it’s not his job to mentor Drew Lock — or at least to the extent that many of Tuesday’s headlines seemed to intimate.
For better context, here’s Flacco’s full quote following Monday’s OTA on if he feels he’s responsible for mentoring the Denver Broncos second-round pick:
“You have to be careful with how you answer that, but I think that is, like I said, it’s kind of (offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello’s) job. It’s to be in that quarterback room and watch. That is how you can develop.
“Listen, I have so many things to worry about. 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.”
And previous to that question, Flacco said he hoped Lock would learn from him because “that means we’re out there and we’re slinging it around and having a lot of fun.”
Basically, if Flacco does well, Lock will learn better. And more importantly, to Broncos Country, Denver will be in a good position to avoid a third consecutive losing season.
But context is often lost in today’s media landscape, as exhibited by several former players taking shots at Flacco on Tuesday.
Said NFL Network analyst and Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner:
“To me, it just doesn’t make sense to just (say) hey, my job isn’t to do anything extra to help that young guy out. My job is to win games. Yeah, your job is to win games, but your job is also to help everybody around you to be better.”
ESPN football analyst Dan Orlovsky said Flacco is “100 percent wrong” in thinking he can mentor certain players and not others.
Ladainian Tomlinson, an NFL Network analyst and Hall of Fame running back, said even if Flacco believes what he said, it’s a bad look for him to say it at all.
“If Drew Lock becomes an all-star quarterback, doesn’t he want Drew Lock to say, ‘Man, I learned a lot from Joe Flacco. You know, he taught me a lot.’ Instead, he’s going to say, ‘Joe Flacco never talked to me,’” Tomlinson said Monday night. “And I’m telling you, it’s a bad reflection not only on Joe but your teammates start to see that and they lose respect for you because you say stuff like that.”
What all three of these NFL players-turned-analysts missed is Flacco never said he wouldn’t mentor Lock, only that he’s focusing on readying himself to do the best he can with winning as his top goal.
As it should be.
On if Flacco needs to be a mentor to Lock or whether the onus is on the rookie quarterback, head coach Vic Fangio said Monday, “That’s on Drew to soak in and learn.”
“Joe’s learning a new system himself,” Fangio said. “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.”
As Flacco said, it’s primarily the responsibility of Scangarello to help develop Lock. If the veteran can add any lessons to that, it’s a cherry on top.
If Flacco’s focus needs to be on learning this Broncos offense and improving himself, then so be it, as long as it leads to victories come this fall.
Should Denver falter this season, however, everything’s fair game.
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