ENGLEWOOD • It was only day one, but Joe Flacco already has a nickname with his new team.
The Broncos quarterback is known as “Joe Cool” to coach Vic Fangio.
And the name couldn’t be more fitting to Flacco’s laid-back personality.
“At times during his career, he’s had that calm demeanor about him and when things are going good, he’s ‘Joe Cool,’” Fangio said. “But Joe’s also a competitor. He leads by example. He’s not going to be a guy that loses his emotions. But trust me, inside his brain and belly, it’s churning for him.”
Fans got their first look at their new starting quarterback Thursday at the start of training camp at UCHealth Training Center.
When the 34-year-old quarterback wasn’t taking first-team snaps, he spent most of his time chopping it up with his new general manager and the man who traded for him, John Elway. For Flacco, just spending time with Elway is special, let alone playing for him.
“For me, I grew up watching John Elway,” said Flacco, who threw for 2,645 yards, 12 touchdowns and six interceptions last season in Baltimore. “While we’re kind of colleagues now and we’re sharing the same field, there’s still a little bit of that kid in you that — I mean, come on, John Elway is standing right next to you. So you try to act as normal as possible and just shoot the breeze.”
Both Flacco and Elway have a lot to prove this season.
Flacco, who was benched for rookie Lamar Jackson by the Ravens after nine games last season, looks to prove he can still be a valuable franchise quarterback. And Elway, who has struck out on the last three quarterbacks he brought to Denver (Trevor Siemian, Paxton Lynch and Case Keenum), looks to prove he’s still a good evaluator of talent at the position.
The two are betting on each other.
“It’s a hard position to fill. We tried to shake all these trees around here the last four years and the quarterbacks didn’t fall out,” Elway said Wednesday. “Hopefully with Joe we’ve got it solidified, with Drew (Lock) working under him.
“We’re excited or at least I’m excited about where we are at that position now.”
Flacco’s presumed backup, Drew Lock, looked impressive on day one, hitting receivers for big gains and sometimes drawing “ooh’s” and “aah’s” from the crowd with his cannon of an arm. But one can only take so much away from a single practice.
As for Flacco, he looked comfortable in the offense. He made few mistakes, and as Fangio said, he looked relaxed — as if he’s been a part of organization for years.
So while the blue and orange may take some time getting used to for the 11-year veteran, it’s still the same game he’s played his entire life. He’s just falling in love with it all over again.
“There is an energy about coming here, an excitement I feel about being on this new team and getting another chance to be a starting quarterback in this league,” Flacco said.
“I feel like a little kid.”