Joe Flacco is about to come full circle for the New York Jets. With rookie first-round pick Zach Wilson still recovering from injury and the luster having seemingly disappeared on backup quarterback Mike White, it’ll reportedly be Flacco getting the nod as starter when the Jets take on the Miami Dolphins in Week 11, per Rich Cimini of ESPN. It’s a decision Robert Saleh makes based upon what he saw in last week’s blowout loss to the Buffalo Bills, when White missed on 20 of his pass attempts and threw four interceptions with no touchdowns.
This is obviously familiar territory for Flacco, in now his second stint with the Jets, but he’s hoping for a much better outcome than what occurred in his first one. In 2020, Flacco joined Gang Green as the backup to Sam Darnold but parted ways in the following offseason, only to rejoin the Jets in October of this season when the Philadelphia Eagles — whom he signed with ahead of the season to play backup to Jalen Hurts — traded him back to New York.
Saleh’s decision to start Flacco might work out well for the Eagles, considering Philadelphia will be awarded a fifth-round pick in 2022 if Flacco plays more than 50% of the snaps in at least four games — per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network — rather than a sixth-round pick.
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Flacco entered last week’s loss to the Bills and completed all three of his passes for 47 yards and a touchdown, giving him a leg up on White and now forging an opportunity to wipe away the 0-4 record he logged as a starter for the Jets in 2020. If Saleh is hoping for a better outcome in Flacco’s return to the driver’s seat, he’ll have to ask the defense to be what they’ve not been to this point: good.
It’s a unit that’s currently worst in the league in points allowed per game (32.9), and that means Flacco (or any QB for the Jets) would have to ready themselves for a shootout on a weekly basis. The problem is, the offense isn’t equipped for that, so even if Flacco does play admirably, he’ll need a ton of assistance in all three phases to be successful. The Dolphins are struggling mightily themselves in 2021, however, so Flacco’s first start this season might not require a Herculean effort — instead one that simply sees him avoiding making critical mistakes.
Both teams desperately need a win, if for nothing more than to feel good about themselves, but with the Dolphins having one their last two games and the Jets having lost theirs, the latter arguably needs it more. There’s also bragging rights at stake in this AFC East clash, and Flacco has an opportunity here to really dig his heels in behind Wilson — who’ll return sooner than later.