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Joe Flacco: Picking a first-round QB 'means something'

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Entrenched as the starter in Baltimore for the past decade, Joe Flacco approached the 2018 NFL Draft unworried about the prospect of his organization selecting a new quarterback.

In the wake of the Ravens' trade up to draft Louisville's Lamar Jackson with the final pick of the first round, though, Flacco understands the weight of the decision.

"I don't know if I was surprised," Flacco told reporters Thursday. "Obviously, when you pick a quarterback -- when you pick anybody in the first round -- it means something. I don't know what that means. I don't know exactly what it is.

"But that's not my job to worry about what it is. My job like I said is to keep my approach exactly what it's been for the last 10 years and help our team go win football games. And we got a couple young tight ends, a lot of new wide receivers. My job is to get these guys on the same page and us operating on a high level."

Coach John Harbaugh, general manager Ozzie Newsome and assistant GM Eric DeCosta have all taken turns insisting Flacco remains the field general, charged with leading the Ravens back to the postseason in 2018.

"There's no bigger believer in Joe Flacco than me," DeCosta offered after the draft. "I know Joe can lead this team into the playoffs this year. ... I've got no doubts in Joe's abilities.

Jackson is a developmental project, DeCosta added, capable of providing "tremendous insurance" for Flacco. That said, the coaching staff is already "in the laboratory," cooking up plans to bedevil defenses with a dynamic dual-threat quarterback.

Now that the cupboard has been restocked on offense, it stands to reason that a team with realistic playoff aspirations would stand behind its veteran quarterback throughout the offseason and training camp.

Once the games begin, though, Flacco can't afford the extended slumps that have plagued the Ravens' stillborn aerial attack over the past two years.

What Jackson's presence means, first and foremost, is that Flacco's leash just got a lot shorter.

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