RG3 wants to 'nurture' Lamar Jackson so 'when he flies away, he is ready to fly away'

The Ravens' quarterback depth chart is still led by the consistently dull Joe Flacco, but it actually has one of the more interesting collection of quarterbacks in football. That's because, behind Flacco, the Ravens have two former Heisman trophy winners in Robert Griffin III and Lamar Jackson. Flacco is  the unquestioned starter heading into the 2018 season, but RG3 and Jackson might be the key to the Ravens' long-term future.

Jackson, taken with the final pick of the first round in this year's draft, is the Ravens' undisputed quarterback of the future. If all goes according to plan, RG3 won't ever have to see the field for Baltimore, but that doesn't mean his job isn't important. RG3, who signed in free agency, is taking it upon himself to mentor Jackson. Or, as he put it, he's trying to "nurture" Jackson like a bird that's unable to fly away from home quite yet.

"I'm trying to help nurture him as much as I possibly can, so that when he flies away, he is ready to fly away," Griffin told Sports Illustrated's Ben Baskin. "Because when you watch it fly away, at that point it's up to that bird."

Already, though, Jackson is flying when given an opportunity. Jackson likely won't be given a chance to steal away Flacco's starting job this season, but he will likely be given a chance to play. At practice, the Ravens have been experimenting with two-quarterback sets to get Jackson onto the field with Flacco. Meanwhile, Jackson's teammates are in "awe" of him and have compared him to "a young Michael Vick." As our own Jason La Canfora chronicled last week, when Jackson was handed a chance to run the Ravens' offense for a day, he didn't disappoint, though clearly there's still work to be done and progress to be made.

It'll probably help that he has RG3 to lean on. For all of RG3's faults on the field, he can supply Jackson with some valuable insight. RG3, the former No. 2 overall pick in 2012, has experienced both the highs (2012 Offensive Rookie of the Year) and lows of the NFL (every year besides 2012). So, he should be able to prepare Jackson for the inevitable peaks and valleys that Jackson will experience during his career. 

In that sense, RG3 could be a perfect mentor. 

"I try to take that and look at it in a positive way to try to help Lamar navigate a lot of the things that I had to navigate on my own," Griffin says. "I feel like he really trusts me and believes what I'm telling him and I think that's made him a better player already in a short amount of time."

According to the SI.com story, Griffin texted Jackson immediately after the draft to tell him that he'd be available to help. Now, the two quarterbacks talk on a daily basis at the team facility and meet at least once a week away from the facility. 

Compare how RG3 has handled Jackson's arrival to the way Flacco handled it. At rookie minicamp, Jackson revealed that he still hadn't heard from Flacco nine days after getting drafted. That shouldn't come as a surprise given that Jackson is in Baltimore to eventually replace Flacco. Nobody should blame Flacco if he decides to prioritize his own future above his competition. According to Ravens safety Eric Weddle, the selection of Jackson "lit a fire" under Flacco, who has made it clear that he's not holding a grudge against Jackson.

Still, there's a difference between not holding a grudge against someone and wanting to mentor someone. Luckily, Jackson appears to have a mentor in RG3, who is eager to help.

"Is it different being an African-American quarterback in the NFL?" Griffin said. "Yes, it's different. But you can't look at it as a burden. You can't look at it as something that is going to hold you back. It's a challenge. You have to accept the challenge and move forward with it. Anytime you are athletic enough at the quarterback position and have similar traits to a wide receiver or running back, it's going to be talked about. You have to eliminate that noise and understand that, because I have that ability, I am going to be even greater."

CBS Sports Writer

Sean Wagner-McGough joined CBS Sports in 2015 after graduating from UC Berkeley. A native of Seattle, Sean now resides in the Bay Area. He spends his spare time defending Jay Cutler on Twitter. Full Bio

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