Next quarterback up.
The Jets will start their third quarterback in five weeks Sunday, with veteran Joe Flacco getting the surprise call as their starter against the Dolphins at MetLife Stadium.
Flacco has not started a game since last November, when he was in his first stint with the Jets. Coach Robert Saleh made the stunning call to start Flacco over Mike White, who was a would-be savior as recently as a week ago. Rookie Zach Wilson is still not 100 percent healthy.
For Flacco, this is a chance he had to wonder if he would ever get. He was languishing on the Eagles’ bench when the Jets traded a sixth-round pick for him on Oct. 25. After getting up to speed then serving as White’s backup last week, the former Super Bowl MVP will make his 176th NFL start when he faces Miami.
“You can’t take this game for granted,” Flacco said. “I’m 14 years in now, and I want to play now more than ever. When you’re a backup and then when you get traded, there’s all kinds of things that are running through your head. You want to go out there and you want to play. Not only that, you need to prove to yourself again that you can play. All those things, like a lot of emotions come up. If you get in your head, then a lot of bad thoughts can come up, especially when you’re sitting in a hotel room up here by yourself and you’re thinking: ‘All right, what’s going to happen?’ So, I think you have to block that out as much as possible, and whatever your role is in the moment, you dive in completely with that and you make the most of it.”
The Jets desperately need a win after two straight blowout losses. They are 2-7 and going nowhere this season, but need to show they can at least play competitive football down the stretch.
That not only starts with Flacco, but a defense that has been porous over the past month — allowing 175 points over the past four games, including 45 in each of the past two.
“We haven’t been good enough, in any way,” defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich said. “We haven’t covered well enough, we haven’t rushed well enough, we haven’t stopped the run well enough. So, it’s a little bit of everything. It’s a by-product of, we need better coaching, we need better execution by the players, we need to keep searching and finding answers for them. As a coaching staff, trying our best to put them in the positions to be successful. We have not done that as of late very well, so we’re going to keep fighting and clawing and scratching and trying to find these inches to help these guys out.”