The New York Jets front office feels like they got it right with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft. They had their second choice of the litter from everyone not named Trevor Lawrence.
While Zach Wilson has a lot to prove in the preseason, earning the starting job isn’t one of them. Due to the lack of activity at the backup quarterback spot, there’s no path you can envision where Wilson won’t be the starter on the road Week 1 vs the Carolina Panthers.
Where the questions start is at the backup quarterback spot for the green and white.
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Evaluating the Current Landscape at Backup Quarterback
They finally added a veteran when the 35-year old journeyman Josh Johnson signed on the dotted line. Despite all his experience, Johnson has only won a single game as a starting quarterback in his 13 plus years in the league.
The other quarterbacks on the roster are neophytes.
James Morgan and Mike White are a pair of developmental quarterback prospects at best. At worst they’re players riding the NFL wave until they eventually land in a different career field.
The Jets haven’t had a quarterback play a full season healthy since 2015 when Ryan Fitzpatrick accomplished that feat. With the NFL expanding its regular season to 17 games, it is even more unlikely that Wilson will be able to participate in a full season without any complications due to injuries.
The Jets owe it to themselves to have a break-the-glass emergency in case things go sideways. Right now if the former BYU stud gets hurt, the team is in trouble.
Time to Reunite With an Old Unlikely Friend
When rumors started to swirl that the Jets were thinking about adding veteran quarterback Joe Flacco to the mix in 2020, I’ll admit I was skeptical.
During his final moments with the Baltimore Ravens, there was a lot of chatter about him being a questionable teammate and mentor to a young Lamar Jackson. Flacco was stubborn because he didn’t want to help a young player steal his job in a place where he won a Super Bowl.
Then he gets traded to the Denver Broncos and similar reports emerge about issues with a young Drew Lock.
With all of that noise on the record, you could understand why some wouldn’t be enthralled with the idea of adding him into the quarterback room featuring another youngster in Sam Darnold.
Despite some initial concerns, Flacco actually became a model teammate and when inevitably he was called upon in a pinch actually showed some chutzpah when the Jets brought him into the fold last year.
The veteran’s best game came against the New England Patriots in primetime where he completed over 72 percent of his passes for 262 yards. Flacco finished with three touchdowns and a horrible interception late that ended up costing the Jets the game.
At the end of the year, the Jets had a changing of the guard in the coaching staff and Flacco ended up joining a new team in Philadelphia.
In his first appearance with the Eagles on Thursday evening, the 36-year old proved he still has some gas left in the tank.
During the preseason opener for Philly, Flacco threw for 178 passing yards with a beautiful 10.5 yards per pass vs the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Eagles have three quarterbacks on their roster in Jalen Hurts (presumed starter), Nick Mullens, and the aforementioned Flacco. Most NFL teams keep two quarterbacks on their roster and there’s a huge chance Flacco potentially shakes free within a few weeks.
If he does, the Jets need to think long and hard about bringing him back into the fold as the No. 2 passer for this team. Jets fans and the organization hope that Wilson can stay healthy for a full 17 game season, but hope doesn’t pay the bills.
As the saying goes, you can hope for the best, but you have to plan for the worst. Especially when you’re running a multi-billion dollar organization you always have to be thinking 10 steps ahead.
Flacco would provide everything the Jets are looking for in the position:
- Experience (has played in over 176 games during his 13 plus year career).
- Mentor (while he has had instances where he has struggled with this role in the past, he knows what his position is now in 2021).
- Someone that can step in a pinch (Flacco is a former Super Bowl MVP and has won over 98 games).