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'Joe Cool': A fiery competitor lurks beneath Flacco's calm demeanor

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Four days before his first training camp practice with the Broncos, Joe Flacco settled in to watch another top-notch athlete compete for a championship.

As a former Super Bowl MVP, Flacco likely understands some of the pressure that Roger Federer felt on July 14 as he played a five-set match against Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon final.

While Federer was unable to secure his 21st Grand Slam singles title, Flacco appreciated the way the 37 year old approached the title match. In some ways, Flacco said Thursday, he and Federer have the same even-keeled approach when competing.

“It’s just the way I was brought up,” Flacco said. “It’s not that I don’t have emotion in me and obviously it can be mistaken for care and all of those different things, but it was the way I was brought up. I’m really not very good at being anyone else but myself. I just got done watching Wimbledon and Roger Federer’s my favorite tennis player of all time and that’s a big part of why.

“Obviously, he’s unbelievable and awesome to watch, but if you watch him throughout the match nothing gets to him and I don’t know if he was always like that, but at this point in his career and as far as I’ve been watching him, he is. It’s just awesome to see that in the best player of all time. That’s how I want to be. If some people don’t like it, I don’t really care. I am who I am and that’s really the only person I’m good at being.”

Head Coach Vic Fangio said he appreciates the steady presence that Flacco has brought to both the offense and the team.

“Joe’s got a calm demeanor about him, but he is still a fiery competitor,” Fangio said Thursday. “I think Joe’s at a time in his career that he has that calm demeanor about him — and when things are going good, it’s ‘Joe Cool.’ And if thinks aren’t going well, [people say], ‘Joe doesn’t care that much’ — or he’s not getting fired up. That’s how Joe is. Joe is a competitor. He leads through example. He is not going to be a guy who loses his emotions — but trust me, inside his brain and belly, it’s turning for him.”

There are plenty of reasons for Flacco to feel that fire in Denver, which represents a new start for the 34-year-old quarterback.

“There is an energy about coming here and an excitement that I feel about coming to this new team and getting another chance to be a starting quarterback in this league,” Flacco said. “I don’t think you can ever take for granted how awesome it is to get to do what I’m doing and what we are all doing, so I’m definitely excited about it and ready to go. I feel like a little kid.”

Not many quarterbacks get to regain a starting role after losing one in another town — but Flacco gets more than that chance. He gets to take it in a system that helped him reach his best statistical season as a pro.

In 2014 in Gary Kubiak’s system, Flacco threw for a career-best 27 touchdowns and 3,912 yards while throwing just 12 interceptions. In his first season in Denver, Offensive Coordinator Rich Scangarello has implemented a similar system.

“I think there are obviously differences, but a lot of the terminology is the same,” Flacco said. “I think a lot of the concepts and what you want to do with the ball and the overall philosophy of what we want to do on offense is pretty similar. We have a lot of good running backs. We want to be physical in everything that we do. We want to be able to run the ball that way so we can utilize our play-action and do all of the other things that come off of that. I think the philosophy overall is very similar.”

The Broncos hope the familiarity can help lead Flacco and the team toward success.

“Listen, I feel like I’ve got a lot left in the tank,” Flacco said, “and I feel like I can do a lot more than what I’ve really shown over the course of my 11-year career, so I’m excited that I’m going to have the opportunity here to do that.”

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