ENGLEWOOD — Joe Flacco continues to work through the second chapter of his career. He remains the new guy, still figuring out where to sit in the cafeteria, while learning faces and names. The way he sees it, he has it easy. His wife remains in New Jersey taking care of the couple's five children as they finish up school. All Flacco has to do is prove to his new team that he can play at a high level, leaving teammates to trust him and his leadership.
The process began Tuesday at the first voluntary mini-camp. Flacco showed his fastball, and his presence, clearly in charge. Yes, it's April, but for a 34-year-old looking for a second chapter of his career, it mattered. Everything does.
"First of all, I think we are always getting evaluated. They are looking at everybody," he told me during his press conference. "When you are new, and I am, there's a lot that can be accomplished. You can confidence that can carry you through the season. As a new quarterback and naturally a leader on the team, the first thing I want to do is prove to the guys on this team that I can be their quarterback. If they really believe I am the guy -- and I believe I am the guy -- that's when leadership can take off."
That happens not through conversations, but actions. Flacco remains committed to this principle: Be about it, don't talk about it.
"It's about performance on the field," Flacco said. "It's about doing it."
Helping Flacco's transition is the offense. He is familiar with some of offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello's concepts given the roots in the Mike Shanahan-Gary Kubiak-Kyle Shanahan attack. Flacco recognizes the importance of taking the class room to the field. The more quickly he learns the scheme, the faster he can microwave the development of those around him.
It is is an interesting situation. He is a Super Bowl champion with a chip the size of a bag of Fritos on his shoulder. Baltimore gave up on him, going with rookie Lamar Jackson. Flacco believes he has plenty left. As you might expect, he doesn't see a reason for Denver taking a quarterback with the 10th overall pick.
“I think I had a pretty good outlook on it last year. It is what it is. I want to get this team to be the best it is with me at quarterback position. Obviously, that is not of most importance to draft a quarterback. But if we do, that’s completely out of my control. I’m going to go out here and I’m going to compete and he’s going to have to come out here and be on the field with me every day, too. I’m all ready for that," Flacco said. "Whether it’s 10 or whatnot, the only thing I care about is, like I said, I want this team to be as good as they can with me at quarterback. If we feel like as a team and an organization that we can add value to our team at the 10th pick, then I’m all for getting a guy that can add value to the team with me as the understood quarterback."