Mile High Joe?

The Baltimore Ravens wouldn’t have said it, but there was somewhat of a “quarterback controversy” within the team. Joe Flacco was the starter once again and as many players do, he injured his hip in week nine of the regular season. While he was on the sideline, Lamar Jackson came in and really gave this team a boost. Even with a healthy Joe, John Harbaugh decided to stay with the hand that was hot by keeping Lamar under center. They won six of the seven games started by Jackson and won the AFC North for the first time since the year they won the Super Bowl. I think we all speculated that the 2018 season would be the final year that Flacco would remain in Baltimore. Today, a trade was agreed upon to send the veteran quarterback to the Denver Broncos in exchange for mid-round draft picks.

I’m in agreement with this move made by the Denver Broncos. Ever since the Peyton Manning days in Colorado, the franchise has struggled. Their last playoff appearance was in Super Bowl 50 when they defeated the Carolina Panthers and sent Peyton out on top a champion. The team hasn’t had luck finding his replacement. Everyone assumed Brock Osweiler would be the guy to start after Peyton, but he left to sign with the Houston Texans. Trevor Siemian didn’t get the job done, it didn’t work out with Paxton Lynch nor Case Keenum who signed a free agent deal with the team last Spring. This move gives the Broncos a veteran signal-caller who can win during the regular season and knows what it takes to win come playoff time in January. He led the Ravens to playoff appearances in six of his first seven seasons including a trip to the AFC Championship game his rookie year when they fell short to the Steelers. I like how he’s always dialed in. His highs aren’t too high nor are the lows too low, he’s very consistent in his moods. The one thing he doesn’t receive enough credit for is his toughness. He’s as tough as he is poised. Standing at 6’6, he can move better than he’s been known too away from pressure. I’ve seen him under intense amounts of pressure, but he was still able to get the ball out his hands. He has the awareness to move within the pocket to duck away from a pass rush. He has tremendous arm strength to make all the throws, hit his receivers in stride along with connecting with them on the passes and he can fire the ball in between defenders with the softest touch. One of the best passes I saw him make in his career came in the 2014 divisional round of the playoffs against the Patriots. He dropped back three steps, had a clean pocket to throw from and found Owen Daniels in the endzone for six points with three New England defenders surrounding him. He made a surgically sharp pass. He can spin the ball well.

I’m not saying this move makes the Broncos a contender, but it can get them back to the playoffs. The Chiefs are still the team to beat in the AFC West and the Chargers will also be back next year. John Elway making this move makes the AFC West more of a competitive division on paper now. With a running game anchored by Royce Freeman and Philip Lindsay, hopefully a healthy Emmanuel Sanders coming back along with a young and upcoming receiver in Courtland Sutton and a defense with Von Miller with a touch of guidance for new head coach Vic Fangio, the Broncos could be a competitive group in 2019.