A familiar question popped up at the combine Wednesday morning.
Is Joe Flacco elite?
A reporter asked formed Ravens Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak that question during his press conference, and the new Broncos head coach left no room for doubt.
"Is Joe Flacco elite? You bet he is," Kubiak said with a laugh. "He helped me. That's probably why I'm standing up here [as a head coach again] today."
The Ravens franchise quarterback enjoyed the best season of his career during his one year with Kubiak as his play caller. He set career highs in passing yards (3,986) and touchdowns (27), and the Ravens offense had franchise record marks in yards (364.9 per game) and points (25.6).
The success of Flacco and the offense was mutually beneficial, as the resurgent season led to Kubiak getting the head coaching job in Denver.
"Joe was tremendous. I really enjoyed working with him," Kubiak said. "He's as talented a human being as I've ever coached, as good of a person as I've ever coached."
The lofty praise from Kubiak is significant, especially considering his track record in the NFL and particularly with quarterbacks. He played with and coached Hall of Famer John Elway throughout his career in Denver, and he also spent a season as the quarterbacks coach for Hall of Famer Steve Young in San Francisco.
Even though Kubiak is in Denver now, he still sees a very bright future in store for Baltimore's quarterback. And he's put another end to that "elite" debate – for now.
"I think we're going to be talking about Joe for a long, long time," Kubiak said. "I really appreciated my time with him and I wish him the best."
Despite his decision to leave the Ravens, he had glowing remarks about what he gained from his one year on Head Coach John Harbaugh's staff.
"I went there because I knew what the organization stood for. I knew what John stood for. That's what I wanted to be a part of. Tremendous expectations there, and that's something I wanted to be part of," he said. "There are so many things. But the bottom line is that watching a successful organization go about it every day, one that has been there each and every year, I'm taking a lot of that with me."