Eric Weddle says Ravens drafting Lamar Jackson has 'lit a fire under' Joe Flacco

Joe Flacco wasn't very good last season. He wasn't very good in 2016 or 2015, either. It's why -- along with a cap hit around $25 million the next two seasons -- the Ravens finally decided to draft a quarterback in the first round. Lamar Jackson is the new face of the franchise and Flacco's successor though Flacco, a first-round pick in 2008, has no plans to go away quietly.

After playing like a replacement-level quarterback in recent years, the report from offseason workouts is that Flacco looks more like the player that led the Ravens to the playoffs in his first five seasons and nothing like the guy who made just one postseason appearance in the last five seasons.

"He's obviously been challenged," safety Eric Weddle said, via ESPN.com's Jamison Hensley. "Drafting Lamar [Jackson] and bringing [Robert] Griffin in, it's lit a fire under him. You can tell. It has shown."

Flacco's indifferent demeanor belies a competitor and the Ravens' decision to draft Jackson certainly got his attention.

"When you pick a quarterback or anybody in the first round, it means something," Flacco said last month.

But for all of Jackson's positive reviews, Flacco has been the Ravens' best quarterback in recent weeks.

"Joe has had an outstanding offseason, and it's nice just to see him running around, getting drops, planting and throwing the ball with zip, throwing the ball downfield," Weddle continued. "He can throw it 70 yards; you saw it a few weeks ago. So, we're pumped."

Perhaps all Flacco needed was a little competition, something Ryan Mallet didn't really provide in recent seasons. Now he's being pushed by Jackson and former first-rounder Robert Griffin III and perhaps more than anything else, Flacco is healthy, something he couldn't say an offseason ago when he was battling a back issue.

"If you don't have your quarterback out there, everything else kind of stagnates," coach John Harbaugh said this week. "I don't think you get as much out of the offseason or training camp as you would. To me, that's the No. 1 thing -- it gives us the chance to really get to where we need to go -- the fact that our quarterback is out there."

CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

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