Joe Flacco having 'far and away' best camp of career

Are we perched on the cusp of a juicy bounce-back season for Joe Flacco?

It sure sounds that way based on the daily buzz from Ravens camp, where the 33-year-old quarterback is doing his part to fend off enticing rookie challenger Lamar Jackson.

In his newly branded Football Morning in America column, Peter King summed up Flacco's summer surge, by noting: "One longtime Ravens observer told me here Thursday that this first week of camp for Flacco has been 'far and away' the best he's looked in camp in his 11 years as a Raven."

Observing last Thursday's practice, King noted that Flacco "made, by my accounting, six beautiful medium-to-deep throws right on the money in team drills. Two traveled more than 40 yards in the air to former Card wideout John Brown (a big star in early camp) and nestled perfectly in his hands -- and Brown was covered tightly both times. Another zippy shot went up the seam, deep, to precocious rookie tight end Hayden Hurst. Vintage Flacco bombs."

After practice, a "beaming" John Harbaugh told King: "I see Joe Flacco out there. Healthy. Obviously very determined."

His "healthy" status has everything to do with it after Flacco spent last season addled by back issues. So, too, does the arrival of Jackson, Baltimore's first-round draft pick and a player who will eventually replace the veteran.

"There's definitely a certain feeling you have," Flacco told King of the Ravens drafting Jackson. "I don't know if it's the worst feeling in the world, but it definitely means something. There's definitely a little bit of a message in there. But this is the NFL, man. I've been in it for 10 years, seen pretty much everything. Surprised by this [drafting of Jackson] a little bit. My approach is I'm gonna show these guys every day what kind of quarterback I am, and I can't really worry about anything else."

Harbaugh has made it clear the Ravens will find a way to get Jackson on the field, reiterating to King: "Sometimes Lamar will be the quarterback. Sometimes we'll have two quarterbacks. Sometimes Joe will be doing something else. Sometimes Lamar will be doing something else. We'll try to be creative. That's really about all I can tell you: We're going to try to be creative with them."

Jackson's fascinating potential has Baltimore brass aglow, but the bigger storyline -- for now -- is the resurgence of Flacco. At his best, he's a difference-making quarterback for a Ravens team with playoff aspirations.

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