Broncos veteran quarterback Joe Flacco has faced criticism for comments he made that indicated he isn’t willing to prioritize his role as a mentor to rookie quarterback Drew Lock, even though Flacco’s hardly the first-ever quarterback to say such a thing, but he doesn’t appear to be facing criticism from the one person who carries an opinion that ultimately matters.
On Thursday, Lock himself had a chance to respond to Flacco’s comments during a phone interview with The Associated Press. He took the opportunity to defend Flacco, who told reporters on Monday that .
“I think if any quarterback’s main goal isn’t focused on winning games, first off, it’s not the quarterback you want on your team,” Lock said.
He then pointed to a “double standard” that he thinks victimized Flacco.
“I feel like if it would have been like the exact opposite answer, people would have scrutinized him for not wanting to win football games first,” Lock said. “It’s such a double standard there with what people are making out of what he said.”
Lock’s not wrong. Just like how Flacco wasn’t wrong when he said he needed to prioritize winning football games over Lock’s development. The Broncos didn’tbecause they wanted him to be a mentor. They traded for him because they think they can win with him after continually failing to win enough games with all of the subpar quarterbacks who have tried to replace Peyton Manning.
Now, there’s a very convincing argument to be made that Flacco won’t be able to help the Broncos win many games because he’s not a good quarterback and hasn’t been a good quarterback for a while now (if ever, outside of one heroic playoff run), but that only places even more pressure on Flacco to play well in Denver after playing not so well in Baltimore at the end of his Ravens career. Flacco, who is closer to the end of his NFL career, than the beginning needs to worry about himself before he can worry about Lock.
Finally, it’s worth noting that Flacco is hardly the only quarterback to talk like this. Eli Manning Brett Favre famously said he wouldn’t mentor Aaron Rodgers, and Rodgers ended up developing just fine. There’s a good chance that Flacco’s comments, while certainly newsworthy, were blown a bit out of proportion in large part because it’s May and, well, there’s nothing else to really talk about at this point in the calendar.
Besides, it’s not like Flacco is refusing to help Lock. The two share the same meeting room, which gives Lock the opportunity to ask Flacco any questions he might have. And by the sound of it, Flacco is willing to provide Lock with answers.
“Me and Joe talk out on the field, talk over things in the QB room,” Lock said. “I mean, it’s hard even to think about how couldn’t I learn from the guy when we’re in the same QB room every day and on the same field every day and I get to watch his reps, I get to hear the play calls he’s running in my head through the helmet. I think it was just mainly him stating that, yeah, I do have a young quarterback underneath me right now but don’t forget that I’m here to win football games. And he thinks that he can do that and so do I.”
Lock added: “When I’ve asked Joe a question, it’s not like he turns a cold shoulder and doesn’t talk to me. He answers and we talk about things. So, I’m appreciative of what he’s done.”
And that should end the controversy.
That said, while we’re on the topic, let’s just take a quick second to give Alex Smith credit for his willingness to mentor Patrick Mahomes in 2017 even though he knew Mahomes would eventually replace him. Veteran quarterbacks certainly aren’t required to take a rookie under their wing and they shouldn’t be blasted for refusing to do so, but that doesn’t mean their mentorship can’t be tremendously valuable.