Jets signed Joe Flacco for this type of an emergency
This is why he was brought here.
The Jets signed Joe Flacco in the offseason so they had an experienced adult in the quarterbacks room to back up starter Sam Darnold in case of emergency.
With Darnold out indefinitely and the Jets 0-4 and spiraling, this qualifies as a full-blown emergency.
Darnold’s right shoulder, which was injured when Broncos linebacker Alexander Johnson slammed him into the MetLife Stadium turf on one of the six times he was sacked last Thursday night, is out for Sunday’s home game against the Cardinals and possibly longer.
Enter Flacco, a 13th-year veteran who’s started 171 regular-season games, won 98 of them, thrown 218 touchdown passes and for more than 40,000 yards.
Unlike a year ago, when Darnold was lost for three games with mononucleosis and the Jets were caught with their pants down, poorly prepared at backup quarterback, they now have someone in Flacco who’s been there and done that.
The hope is that Flacco, who’s highly motivated and hungry to resurrect his career as a starter, creates a reverse effect to the nightmare that ensued last season when Darnold was out.
Maybe Flacco’s veteran presence and strong arm can spark what has been a too-conservative, sputtering offense that has scored 17, 13, 7 and 28 points in four games.
Sure, Flacco is 35 and coming off neck surgery, but he’s a guy who’s played in 15 playoff games, winning 10, including the Super Bowl after the 2012 season.
In the three games Darnold missed, with backup Trevor Siemian playing for about 10 minutes before he was knocked out for the season and then third stringer Luke Falk, the Jets produced one offensive touchdown and were outscored 84-23, but 14 of those 23 points came on the two defensive touchdowns the Jets scored against the Patriots.
In those three games, the Jets produced an average of 9.3 first downs and 165 yards in total offense. Quality NFL offenses burp out those numbers in a quarter or a half.
Flacco replaced Darnold for four plays Thursday night, completing both passes he threw for 16 yards before Darnold returned.
“The advantage I have this week is knowing that I’m going to be playing going into the game, so I can treat it like I always have,’’ Flacco, a starter all his life, said Wednesday. “My adrenaline was definitely pumping last week when Sam went down there for the few plays I had to go in for. This week feels a lot more normal to me.’’
Jets coach Adam Gase said Flacco is “as calm as you can get and he’s had a lot of experience.’’
That experience has to make a difference for the Jets this time around without Darnold.
“Just to get out there and practice today was a lot of fun,’’ Flacco said. “You feel like a little kid again just going out there and playing football.’’
Last season, Flacco played with the Broncos with hopes of renewing his career as a starter and lasted only eight games, finishing 2-6. The year before, his last of 11 seasons in Baltimore, Flacco lasted nine games, going 4-5, before the Ravens excitedly ushered in the Lamar Jackson era.
“I’m sure people have opinions on these things, but I think I have a lot left,’’ Flacco said. “I want to go out there and show my teammates that I can play and I want to be there for them.’’
Flacco didn’t have to have the surgery. He could have called it a career — a pretty damned successful one — and retired. He knew, however, the only way he could keep playing, attract any team to sign him, was to have surgery.
“If I wasn’t going to play, I wouldn’t be sitting here with a scar on my neck,’’ he said. “I definitely was not done playing football in my mind. It became a no-brainer to go under [for surgery].’’
Flacco wants to help fix the Jets, who’ve been floundering without any offensive identity. He, too, wants to show anyone else who’s watching that he can still be a starter in the league. So, this opportunity for him is not only about helping the Jets now but helping his future.
“I’d be lying if I was to deny that,’’ Flacco said. “I want to play quarterback in this league. But, I’ve got to go out there and play within the offense and do the best I can for this team in the situation we’re in right now.
“I’m not looking at it in terms of bringing a spark. I hope to get us going in the right direction.’’
It’s why he was brought here.
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