Right here’s how the Jets’ signing of Joe Flacco to be Sam Darnold’s backup goes to work greatest: If Flacco makes it work.
On paper, the acquisition seems to be like the right transfer as insurance coverage for the 22-year-old Darnold, which is one thing the staff was woefully devoid of the previous two seasons, going 0-6 with Darnold out of the lineup. Flacco additionally got here low cost — a one-year deal value $1.5 million not together with incentives.
Flacco has made 171 regular-season NFL begins, has a won-loss file of 98-73 with 218 touchdowns thrown to 141 interceptions. Of much more significance than which are his 15 playoff begins with a 10-5 file, 25 touchdowns to 10 picks and a Tremendous Bowl title.
So, the Jets will enter the 2020 season with maybe probably the most seasoned, skilled and completed backup quarterback within the league.
The query is whether or not these accomplishments of Flacco’s, coupled together with his continued need to be a starter once more, can be an asset or a detriment to Darnold?
Flacco, the previous Ravens and Broncos quarterback, spoke with reporters Thursday on a Zoom name and mentioned all the proper issues about wanting to assist Darnold and do what he can to make the staff higher.
However the 35-year-old Flacco, too, didn’t draw back from admitting that he nonetheless has a burning need to begin once more. Except for the very finish of his 11-year run in Baltimore, the place Lamar Jackson started to take the league by storm in 2018, beginning is all Flacco has recognized in his profession.
Did you hear the phrases “quarterback controversy’’ within the air?
Contemplating the Jets’ funding in Darnold, the third-overall decide within the 2018 draft, and contemplating that Flacco was 2-6 final season in Denver and is coming off neck surgical procedure, that notion must be preposterous.
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And, if Darnold does occur to search out himself spooked by Flacco’s presence or wanting over his shoulder the primary time he throws three interceptions in a recreation, then he’s most likely not the quarterback the Jets consider he’s within the first place.
Right here’s what the Jets and Darnold want Flacco to be this season: Be like Josh McCown.
There wasn’t a bone in McCown’s physique that fancied himself as a starter over Darnold, even in Darnold’s rookie season, and his need to mentor Darnold was real. McCown is likely one of the most selfless gamers you’ll ever meet.
This isn’t a knock on Flacco, as a result of he hasn’t even met with Darnold or his new Jets teammates but, and he very properly could also be precisely the type of mentor the Jets need him to be to their prized (hopeful) franchise quarterback.
However that is all as much as Flacco.
“I’m absolutely embracing it,’’ Flacco mentioned Thursday of his backup function. “It’s the place I’m proper now. I’m glad to be on a staff enjoying soccer in some capability. It’s going to be large to get in there and know the blokes and develop a relationship with the staff and do something I can to assist the staff get higher.
“And in that course of, assist Sam with no matter he wants assist with — take his thoughts off one thing, inform him how I see issues or how I’ve handled [something] prior to now — on the soccer area or off the soccer area.’’
Requested if he nonetheless views himself as a starter, Flacco mentioned, “I nonetheless consider that I’m a beginning quarterback, and also you by no means know what three years down the road goes to appear to be. I nonetheless have the boldness and I nonetheless have the want-to to do this. I don’t assume there are any backups on this league that don’t have aspirations to be a beginning quarterback.
“Proper now … I do know what my function is. Issues have been completely different final 12 months. I bought harm and was unhealthy. I do know what it’s prefer to not really feel like being part of the staff, since you actually can’t have your hand in issues. Within the function I’m in proper now, I can have , optimistic impact on the staff. My function is to assist the staff get higher and to assist a younger quarterback see issues as clearly as potential and assist him on his journey to be a longtime NFL quarterback.’’
After all, Flacco is his personal man and it’s necessary for him to be himself. But it surely wouldn’t harm him to be no less than just a little bit like Josh McCown. As a result of that’s what’ll be greatest for Darnold.
How properly this works is as much as Flacco.