OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Joe Flacco is entering his 11th NFL season, and the first time his name was in the same sentence as "quarterback" and "competition" was … well, this offseason, starting with draft night three months ago.

Combine that with the fact that having two quarterbacks on the field at the same time is not something the Ravens have often contemplated, if ever, before this spring and summer. Which coincides with the fact that the last time they picked a quarterback in the first round before they took Lamar Jackson in April was when they took Flacco in 2009. Finally, add Robert Griffin III as a dose of quarterback insurance that was proven to be needed after last season, but who was added before Jackson was the surprise choice at the end of the first round.

Thus, the Ravens’ preparation for the 2018 season is uncharted territory.

There’s one notable exception to that, though: Flacco wound up starting opening day of his rookie year, an unplanned development that merged his rapid acclimation with some unforeseen circumstances.

That scenario could conceivably repeat itself with the potential-laden, quick-learning Jackson. But, as head coach John Harbaugh has said throughout the offseason — including the day of their first training camp practice this year — none of that will be known until they actually start playing games. For the Ravens, that begins two Thursdays from now at the Hall of Fame Game against the Bears in Canton, Ohio.

None of that, though, has made Flacco less of a focus of attention this offseason, even beyond the offseason after he led the Ravens to a Super Bowl win after the 2012 season. The scrutiny has been intense and widespread — of his age, his poor 2017 season, his health (back problems wrecked his preseason a year ago, just a year after his return from a torn ACL), his hefty contract, and of his relationship with his obvious heir apparent.

Flacco falls as 2018 season approaches

With as sly a smile as he's ever mustered, Flacco essentially promised at the start of offseason workouts to defuse any potential fireworks about how he would handle the situation.

"I think you guys have been around me for a long time and you know the way I am," he said during OTAs in May. "We welcome Lamar around here with open arms and that’s the same for me. At the same time, my approach doesn't change. I want to go win football games this year, and we’ve got a lot of new guys that I have to get ready to play and help us win those games."

Flacco has stuck to it. He also stuck to his insistence early in the offseason that he would hold a workout session with his new receiver teammates — prioritizing that area, the Ravens added free agents Michael Crabtree, Willie Snead, John Brown and Devier Posey and drafted two tight ends and two more receivers. The session with the receivers did take place during the break after minicamp, ESPN.com reported.

The results of it all, Harbaugh hinted as training camp opened this week, are encouraging but not surprising.

"He does seem charged up, I guess," Harbaugh said Thursday. "Joe's pretty even-keeled. But I do see excitement. I think he's excited. He does seem to like his receivers, and I think he’s very motivated and wants to go to work."

Harbaugh has enthusiastically praised both Flacco and Jackson throughout the offseason workouts. Flacco being healthier than he's been in three years clearly shows. Just as clear, Harbaugh has continually noted, is Jackson's mental and psychological approach — the smarts he already had, plus his work ethic and comfort with absorbing knowledge from Flacco and from Griffin, who all have praised for his sharing of what he has learned during his chaotic career.

"Sometimes, it's knowing what you don’t know," Harbaugh said of Jackson after last month's minicamp. "Some guys don’t know, and they don’t know that they don’t know. He knows a lot, but he also knows what he doesn't know, which i

s (that) the type of an offense and the type of systems that he's going to be exposed to in this league are far different than what he did in college. It's just a different game."

Much of that leads to the eagerness by the offensive staff — coordinator Marty Mornhinweg and new quarterbacks coach James Urban — to get creative with the unit as a whole, with Jackson and with Flacco. They started plotting ways to use Jackson and Flacco together almost immediately, and if they're disappointed with the results or the progress, they've hidden it well.

"It gets to be … I don’t want to say challenging, but it gets the creative juices flowing for our offensive coaches, and they've worked hard at it," Harbaugh said.

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The same goes for the possibility that both quarterbacks would butt heads, at least in a noticeable way. If there were any hard feelings from Flacco’s refusal to talk about Jackson at the team's draft fan event, or from the two not talking immediately after the draft, they haven't been evident since workouts started.

The two had not yet spoken when the rookies had their post-draft minicamp, but by the time veteran minicamp came along a month later, Jackson was saying of his bond with Flacco: "It’s pretty cool. We just get along. He helps me out a lot, just like the other two guys, and we crack a few jokes. But it’s about business right now, and I’m just trying to learn as much as I can."

Jackson, meanwhile, has not objected to being used elsewhere besides behind center, something that was an issue leading up to the draft as teams hinted he might play other positions.

And with the back and knee problems behind Flacco, coaches have said the veteran will have more chances to use his often-overlooked mobility in and out of the pocket — making the offense they run for either quarterback less of a contrast.

How all of this will play out once games (even preseason games) start remains to be seen. But, as veteran safety Eric Weddle pointed out, no one is deluded about the challenge Flacco faces, or about how he has handled it.

"With drafting Lamar and bringing Griffin in, it’s lit a fire under him," Weddle said. “You can tell, and he’s shown it."