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Is there really a quarterback competition in Baltimore?

Joe Flacco the starter in 2018? Believe that

NFL: Baltimore Ravens-Training Camp Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

What’s the most hotly contested quarterback competition in the sport of football right now? If you ask a lot of the major sports networks, it’s located in Baltimore, Maryland.

Endless segments on shows ranging from ESPN to FS1 and especially NFL Network have been dedicated to the alleged battle between Joe Flacco and Lamar Jackson that has taken place during training camp. Except. . . most reports out of Owings Mills indicate there is no quarterback controversy at all.

Drafted at number 32 overall and with some room to learn, Jackson was brought in behind Flacco to be the future of the franchise and learn from the former Super Bowl MVP. Despite what a lot of the talking heads have been saying, the prevailing notion is that 2018 is a learning year for Lamar.’s Marc Sessler agrees:

“Arguably the most electrifying player from this year’s draft, Jackson’s Q-Rating is on the rise. Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome has furnished the team with a potential future star and a clear heir apparent to 33-year-old Joe Flacco. The Super Bowl-winning veteran remains in the driver’s seat, but the Ravens are committed to getting Jackson on the field, with coach John Harbaugh saying Tuesday: “One way or another, he’s going to be out there, taking snaps.” The club has unveiled plays during camp that pair Flacco and the rookie together -- and even Jackson with backup Robert Griffin III. Play caller Marty Mornhinweg has gushed over his quarterbacks, calling Jackson “way ahead of the curve” and noting that Flacco -- reduced to a creaky statue last season due to back issues -- is “moving and grooving better” than he has in several years.” With a restocked cast of pass catchers, Baltimore’s offense is trending up. Flacco remains the clear lead dog, but Jackson will have the chance to shine. When will he start? Week 1 of 2019.”

This is pretty spot on. As exciting as Jackson is, the hoopla about him starting meaningful ballgames for Baltimore in 2018 has gotten a little out of hand. The franchise has invested too much in Flacco—between his massive contract and the upgraded weapons this offseason— to turn to Jackson early in the season.

Unless Flacco utterly fails at some point in the year, the job is his. This isn’t to say Baltimore won’t find a way to take advantage of Jackson; as Sessler notes the coaching staff has conceded they’ve been working on getting him on the field in training camp practices.

However, a lot of airtime is being dedicated to something that is simply a non-story at this point. Lamar will get his chance at some point, but if Joe Flacco rebounds as many expect him to, it won’t come in 2018.