Week 11 is upon us and the New York Jets will be yielding significant snaps to their fourth different quarterback of the season.
That’s right, it’s the QB carousel from Hell and we’re all riding it together in 2021 as Robert Saleh has made it official that veteran Joe Flacco will start against the Miami Dolphins.
The former Super Bowl MVP joins Mike White and Josh Johnson (who played most of Week 9) to form a three-headed dragon of irrelevance since the face of the franchise Zach Wilson went down with a knee injury.
I know White made it to Canton for his historic performance in Week 8 and I know Johnson proved he can still sling it too, but outside of the original backup, I say irrelevance because these players most likely won’t have a place in the franchise’s future. Even White is a restricted free agent who could theoretically leave if negotiations fall through.
So, is there anything positive that can come from this mess besides Wilson taking notes and refining his approach? At the very least, the Jets could make NFL history in Week 11.
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Flacco Could Complete Rare QB Feat… Again
According to Josh Dubow of the Associated Press: “If Joe Flacco can throw for [250-plus] yards this week, the Jets will be [second] team in NFL history to have [four] players do that in a game in a single season. (Also Zach Wilson, Mike White, Josh Johnson). The Ravens did it in 2015 with Flacco, Matt Schaub, Ryan Mallett and Jimmy Clausen.”
I’m not sure what’s stranger, four different quarterbacks throwing for over 250 passing yards on a 2-7 team, or Flacco potentially being a part of the feat the only two times it’s ever occurred.
Here were the Jets QB outings that provided this opportunity:
- Wilson in Week 4, 21 of 34 for 297 yards passing and two touchdowns. Also Week 1, 20 of 37 for 258 yards passing and two touchdowns.
- White in Week 8, 37 of 45 for 405 yards passing and three touchdowns. Also Week 10, 24 of 44 for 251 yards passing and zero touchdowns.
- Johnson in Week 9, 27 of 41 for 317 passing yards and three touchdowns.
It’s in your hands now Joe, time to make NFL history! — again.
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Would Victory Justify Flacco Decision?
During his press conference on November 17, Coach Saleh noted that they traded for Flacco “for situations like this.” Like Buffalo, Miami’s “complex” defense is well-known for its ferocity under ex-Patriots assistant Brian Flores.
The blitz-heavy unit held Lamar Jackson and the explosive Baltimore Ravens offense to 238 passing yards on Thursday Night Football in Week 10. So how can one expect Flacco to do better?
“Joe obviously [has] got that ability to process and get the ball in and out of his hands as quickly as possible,” Saleh outlined while explaining his decision, “got a lot of faith in Mike LaFleur and his ability to game plan with his staff and put players in position where there’s space to be had, but again it goes back to Joe’s experience and recognizing coverages pre-snap and knowing exactly where the ball needs to get as quickly as possible to one, avoid hits — but two, get the ball where it needs to go in space.”
Weren’t these the same traits that people were praising White for? Maybe the organization never had as much faith as the fanbase — after all, they didn’t waste much time acquiring Flacco who stated bluntly that he expected to play from the start. Still, this move is certainly a head-scratcher.
Maybe Flacco does give the Jets the better chance to win. After all, Johnson was possibly more impressive than White in this revamped LaFleur offense depending on who you ask, and Flacco was a perfect three for three with a touchdown in garbage time last week. Even so, is it worth the potential consequences?
Saleh and LaFleur just spurned White, who reacted with “a lot of disappointment” according to the Jets HC. For an impending free agent that the Green & White plan to groom into the long-term backup QB, this slight could act as a deterrent in his return. You’re also stalling the development of White and for the real cynics out there, hurting your draft status in 2022 if Flacco leads the team to a meaningless win.
On the flip side, the veteran might help players like Elijah Moore and Michael Carter improve as the offense works on its consistency behind a stable hand. LaFleur could also benefit from working with a 14-year professional as he continues to fine-tune his playcalling.
After hearing all the pros and cons I ask Jets nation, would victory or even NFL history justify this selection by Coach Saleh? Or is there no rationalizing this choice?
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