Drew Lock Breaks Silence on Controversial Joe Flacco Quote on Mentoring
Just before the 2019 NFL Draft, then-Denver Broncos projected starting quarterback Joe Flacco was asked how he would react if the team selected a signal-caller high. The Broncos, at the time, held the No. 10 overall pick in the draft and had been highly connected to Missouri QB Drew Lock.
“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," Flacco said on April 16. "At the end of the day, it is what it is.”
The Broncos did not take a QB at pick 10, which surely allowed Flacco to exhale — but only for a brief time. After a couple of different maneuvers, GM John Elway put the Broncos in position to draft Lock at pick No. 42 in the second round.
From there, it was only a matter of course before Flacco would be asked about his willingness to take Lock under his wing and mentor him. His reply caused some controversy in Broncos Country.
“You have to be careful with how you answer that, but I think that is, like I said, it’s kind of Rich’s [Scangarello] job," Flacco verbally tip-toed. "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."
Flacco added, "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.”
Fast forward to Week 9 of the 2019 regular season and Flacco had been placed on season-ending injured reserve with a neck injury. Meanwhile, Lock was also on IR after spraining his thumb in the preseason, but by that point, he was completely healthy and biding his time until the team finally decided to activate him.
After three lackluster starts from band-aid QB Brandon Allen, the Broncos finally pulled the trigger in Week 13. Lock went from IR literally to the starting lineup overnight.
The rest, as they say, is history.
However, with the gift of hindsight and all that water having passed under the bridge, Lock was recently asked about Flacco's "it's not my job" comment and how he interpreted those remarks. In an appearance on the Zapped Podcast earlier this week, Lock broke his silence on the issue to host Bob Menery.
"Everyone talked about the quote," Lock told Menery. "People were asking him that question and he gave what a winning quarterback would say. His job is to win games. It's not to help a young guy and of course the media blew that up and they talked about it for multiple weeks. But at the same time, if you're in his shoes and you say, 'Yeah, my job is to get a young guy ready' and not mention winning football games, that's a bad look. Like, 'Alright, this year is down the drain. We're just getting this young guy ready.' So I think from my perspective, I knew where he was coming from."
A fair point and an unusually mature interpretation of Flacco's remarks. That quote actually reveals quite a lot about Lock and the type of person and teammate he is.
Lock didn't look for the negative. He didn't seek out the hole in the boat or even take Flacco's remarks as a shot across the bow.
Instead, Lock seemed to put himself in the veteran's shoes and empathized. In that way, Lock understood exactly what Flacco was trying to say and he respected it.
Lock also happened to have the benefit of continuing to play with Flacco throughout that season, even while both took turns on and off of IR. When the chips were down and Lock's time had come, Flacco did what he could to help the kid out.
"But Joe was great to me in the quarterback room," Lock told Menery. "Whenever I needed anything, he was always there to answer that question, especially when I made my first start. He instilled some confidence in me before that game. He was like, 'Just go do you. Go do what you do best and you're going to win this football game.' I really appreciate him saying that to me. You idolize that guy. He won a Super Bowl, he comes in, and he throws it like no one I've ever seen. He's got an absolute cannon. So I thought he was the man, and for him to say that to me, I appreciated it."
Flacco was painted as a villain of sorts. Media wasn't kind to Flacco, including yours truly, when the Broncos limped out to an 0-4 start with him at the helm.
By the time he left the field for good, the Broncos sat at 2-6 at the halfway point. While it wasn't all Flacco's fault, by any stretch, it was clearly very quickly that he wasn't going to be the answer, even in the short-term while Lock developed, that the front office and coaching staff had hoped for.
I took it as a mercy of sorts when the injury bug ended his season — both for Flacco and the Broncos. It simply didn't work out.
Lock hit the starting lineup in Week 13, and with a little help and encouragement from Flacco, he would go on to lead the Broncos to a 4-1 finish to end the 2019 season. Lock looks back on his time with Flacco with gratitude and respect for what the veteran accomplished in the league.
The development of Lock was never under Flacco's purview. Ex-Offensive Coordinator Rich Scangarello and ex-QBs Coach T.C. McCartney were the ones responsible for getting Lock from point A to point B.
Thanks to Lock's resilience and work ethic, to say nothing of his talent and moxie, the kid made Scangarello and McCartney look really good when he finally hit the field. That wasn't Flacco's responsibility but when the time came and he could sense that Lock needed a little push and guidance, the veteran delivered it.
You've got to respect that, regardless of Flacco's less-than-stellar contributions to Broncos' canon. Lock is the better quarterback for it and views his time with Flacco through the appropriate lens.
You can't ask for much more than that. Flacco is now in New York as the Jets' backup to Sam Darnold and Lock is the unquestioned starting quarterback in Denver. It worked out the way it was supposed to. Football serendipity.