John Elway hit a Lombardi-winning home run when he recruited Peyton Manning to Denver. Since then, the Denver Broncos GM has struck out swinging with every attempt to fill the quarterback job.
"It's a hard position to fill," Elway told reporters Wednesday. "We tried to shake all these trees around here the last four years and the quarterbacks didn't fall out. So it's difficult. We've taken a lot of shots, we've tried a lot of different situations. ... Hopefully with Joe [Flacco] we've got it solidified with Drew [Lock] working under him.
"It's been a battle, but this league's a battle. It's been a tough situation, especially at that position. ... [But] I'm excited for that position."
Elway believes the trade for the 34-year-old Flacco, and the promise of Lock, when he's ready to take over, can finally halt the QB merry-go-round in the Mile High city.
"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 retired. That's always a difficult position to fill, but we finally feel pretty good about that position and where we are."
Flacco dealt with injuries the last several seasons, including playing through a back issue in 2017 and a hip injury last season. Elway believes a fully healthy Flacco brings the Broncos proven competence at the position they haven't seen since Manning.
"When the football team has confidence with the guy at that position, it makes your football team better," Elway said. "Joe proved, he showed everybody on our football team he's that guy. Our team responded to him well. ... He's ready to take that spot over."
We've heard Elway speak glowingly of other quarterbacks since Manning, including Keenum last year. How long the praise for Flacco lasts will depend on wins and losses, and whether he keeps Lock on the bench for the entire season. The veteran QB has put up mediocre play the past two years while dealing with injuries but showed a few glimpses of his old self early last year.
After back-to-back losing seasons for the first time since the 1970s, Elway believes he finally figured out the QB spot. If he did, the Broncos could be playoff contenders. If the GM whiffed again, his golden seat in Denver will start to steam.