Baltimore Ravens fans will be rooting for Joe Flacco like he’s back in Baltimore on Sunday after it was announced that he would be starting for the New York Jets against the Miami Dolphins, who crushed the Ravens six days ago.
ESPN’s Rich Cimini first reported yesterday that the Jets were planning to start Flacco after a disastrous outing from fan favorite Mike White last week against the Buffalo Bills. This is Flacco’s second stint with the Jets after an October 26 trade sent him back to New York. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport later confirmed the news, noting that a lingering injury to rookie Zach Wilson would hold the rookie out for another week.
Flacco is beloved in Baltimore for his 11 years and 163 games as the team’s starting quarterback, including his immaculate 2012 playoff run. He was drafted with the 18th overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft and immediately established himself as the Ravens’ franchise quarterback, starting 16 games in his rookie season. That kicked off a streak of 122 starts for Flacco in Baltimore that was eventually ended by a torn ACL in 2015.
Another injury in 2018, this time to his hip, spelled the end of Flacco’s time in Baltimore with Lamar Jackson taking over at quarterback. But throughout his career, Ravens fans have continued to root for the veteran quarterback wherever he goes.
Now, they’ll be rooting harder than ever as Flacco leads the Jets against the Dolphins, who embarrassed the Ravens last week.
Jets HC Touts Flacco’s Experience
Both Cimini and Rapoport added that Flacco’s 14 seasons of NFL experience were a factor in the Jets’ decision to start him against the Dolphins and their aggressive, blitz-happy defense.
Head coach Robert Saleh told media that experience was one of the reasons that the Jets acquired Flacco last month, per Dennis Waszak Jr. of the Associated Press.
“One of the reasons we went and got Joe was for the experience part of it. Not only for the playing ability and for the (quarterbacks) room, but also for situations just like this. Miami’s got a dynamic coverage system as it pertains to defense with (cover) zero and all the different coverages they run, and Joe’s kind of been there, done that.
Though Saleh claimed that Flacco would “put us in the best position to win,” Flacco hasn’t exactly excelled under pressure in his career, especially last season in New York. He recorded a 40.0 offensive grade from Pro Football Focus when under pressure in 2020, the sixth-lowest mark among all quarterbacks.
But after White’s struggles last week, Flacco is likely still the Jets’ best option. It would be fundamentally unwise to send out a not-fully-healthy Zach Wilson against Miami’s red-hot defense, especially with the rookie struggling with turnovers this season, with nine interceptions in just six games.
Flacco Reveals Vaccination Status
Flacco also told media yesterday that he’s not vaccinated against COVID-19, despite the league’s enhanced protocols for unvaccinated players.
The veteran quarterback said that he didn’t want to create a “distraction” by explaining his reasoning, per Cimini, but he’ll create more than a distraction if he misses any playing time in New York.
Flacco is the second high-profile quarterback to reveal that he is unvaccinated in recent weeks after Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers caused a league-wide controversy at the beginning of November.