ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — It’s permissible for Broncos bosses to now talk about Joe Flacco as their quarterback.
It’s just going to take another day before Flacco can step foot in Denver as the Broncos’ starting quarterback.
The white-out blizzard that pulverized the Denver-area Wednesday was strong enough to cancel the Thursday flights into town for Flacco and Broncos’ new free-agent acquisitions Kareem Jackson and Ja’Wuan James.
They’ve been re-booked for a Friday arrival. Broncos’ general manager John Elway and head coach Vic Fangio were around, though. They arrived at their offices before the rain turned to snow Wednesday morning, and they were still there long after the 2019 NFL league season officially opened at 2 p.m.
Like clockwork, Flacco was officially traded from Baltimore to the Broncos at the 2 p.m. strike while Case Keenum, Denver’s starting quarterback last year, was shipped off to Washington in a separate trade.
Why Flacco instead of Keenum?
“Well, it’s hard,’’ Elway said in an interview with 9News. “We looked at what we want to do offensively -- try to get the ball downfield. And the availability of Joe and the success he’s had as a starter and in the playoffs, he won a Super Bowl, he’s been a starter for a long time.
“He’s only 34 years old so we think he has a lot of football ahead of him. I thought he would be a perfect fit for us.
“Case played very well for us, too, but we had to make a decision and we decided to go with Joe with what the compensation was.’’
As previously reported, the Broncos surrendered the first of their two fourth-round draft picks to Baltimore for Flacco.
“He’s productive and he’s been a winning quarterback,’’ Fangio said in his interview with 9News. “I don’t know that you need to say much more than that. He’s always possessed a very strong arm. He’s got good touch on the ball; his ball is very catchable. He’s got good anticipation. He’s got a coolness to him to where the situation isn’t too big for him. He doesn’t get flustered. I just like his overall demeanor, besides his physical qualities.’’
Outside Broncos headquarters, the Flacco had its critics. In his nine full seasons, his average record as a starting quarterback is 10-6. But his career passer rating of 84.1 by and large ranks in the bottom five of NFL quarterbacks. He had an 84.2 rating last year that ranked 28th – just ahead of 29th-ranked Keenum’s 81.2 rating.
Then again, Elway never was much on stats. He finished his quarterback career with a 79.9 rating that ranks 75th all time. Yet, his .645 career winning percentage ranks No. 4.
“The one stat that matters – has he won?’’ Elway said. “And he has won. He’s been to the Super Bowl, he’s won one. If you look at his playoff record, what he’s done on the road. He’s won seven (playoff games) on the road and that’s always hard to do. Joe might not be the flashiest guy, but he’s been very successful, and I think he’ll be very successful with us, too.’’
Elway also said experience of playing under center in the Rich Scangarello offense was one reason why the Broncos favored Flacco as opposed to another available quarterback, Nick Foles.
“There’s no question,’’ Elway said. “We’re going to play underneath the center and try to run the ball and play-action and try to get some chunk plays down field. That’s one of Joe’s strengths. He’s got a very strong arm. He’s accurate. The combination of that, his experience being underneath, his ability to see downfield are all reasons why we’re glad he’s here.’’