Since the Broncos won Super Bowl 50 and quarterback Peyton Manning limped off into the sunset, Denver has had a tough time finding a good quarterback. G.M. John Elway acknowledged that on Wednesday.
“It’s a hard position to fill,” Elway told reporters, via comments distributed by the team. “We tried to shake all these trees around here the last four years and quarterbacks didn’t fall out of it. It’s difficult, but we’ve taken a lot shots. We’ve tried a lot of different situations, and I’ve felt like that was the way to go until we got it solidified. Hopefully with Joe [Flacco] this year, we’ve got it solidified with Drew [Lock] learning underneath him. It’s been a battle, but this league is a battle. It’s a tough situation, especially at that position. We’re excited or at least I’m excited about where we are at that position now.”
Elway also reiterated something he first said earlier this year about the current state of Flacco’s career.
“We just felt that with Joe coming in, getting him in a trade, and where he is in his career, we feel like he’s in his prime,” Elway said. “At least we hope he is. To have a young guy like Drew learn under him and be able to kind of solidify that position for a while — obviously we’ve been looking for one since Peyton [Manning] retired. That’s always a difficult position to fill, but we finally feel pretty good about that position and where we are.”
It’s clear, if it wasn’t already, that Flacco is the guy.
“I think that what Joe proved and showed everybody on our football team was that he can be that guy,” Elway said. “Our team has really responded to him well, and I think Joe’s ready to take that spot over. He’s going to make our defense better, and what’s going to make our defense better is that we’re going to play better on the offensive side, which is the goal, because we’ve struggled there the last couple years. If we play as well as we think we can on the offensive side, it’ll make us that much better on defense.”
Elway also thinks that Flacco’s return to a familiar system coupled with the fact that the Ravens gave up on him will provide motivation.
“Joe’s best years were in that system,” Elway said. “Combining all that with Joe — anytime you get traded midway in your career or two-thirds of the way through your career, you’ve got something to prove.”
Flacco has something to prove. And the Broncos have plenty to prove, in a division where it won’t be easy to prove much of anything. For the first time since the early ’70s, the Broncos have had back to back losing seasons. Elway is counting on Flacco to keep that streak from running to three.