With Sam Darnold still ailing, Joe Flacco will make his second consecutive start for the New York Jets on Sunday.
The New York Jets announced on Wednesday that Joe Flacco will make his second straight start with Sam Darnold still ailing from a shoulder injury.
Flacco will make his first road start in Jets colors, as the New York head to Miami on Sunday (4:05 p.m. ET, CBS). The match previously scheduled for November but shifted forward due to schedule adjustments enforced by COVID-19 outbreaks across the league.
A matchup with Miami could be exactly what Flacco needs to earn what could be a final blaze of glory in a strong NFL career. Numerous celebrities are listed as minority owners of the Dolphins (including tennis legends Serena and Venus Williams), but Flacco could make a case to add himself to that list. He owns a 7-0 record against Miami and owns a 109.4 passer rating over those six showdowns.
Flacco was aware of his success against the Dolphins when fielding questions on Wednesday. When his streak came up, Flacco jokingly accused the inquirer of “jinxing it”.
“Iâ€™ve been fortunate to play on a lot of good teams and you know some that maybe werenâ€™t as good outcome wise at the end of the year but we still have some good teams and some good players that showed up to play on Sundays,” Flacco said of the streak, per transcripts provided by the Jets. “So, (I’ve) played down there a few times and definitely know a little bit about getting ready for the heat, doing all those things and I think if we prepare right and hydrate right, then weâ€™re in good shape and then we can be the team that you know tries to wear the other team out, even though weâ€™re coming down there only one time a year.”
The monopoly over Miami began in Flacco’s rookie campaign in 2009 after first-round call from the Baltimore Ravens. Flacco threw for 232 yards and a score in an October win in Miami before managing a 27-9 decision in the AFC wild card playoffs three months later. More recently, Flacco earned his most recent of three career four-touchdown pass games in a 38-6 shellacking in Baltimore in December 2016.
The Jets could use any victorious distraction in these trying times. They’re back in the headlines for the wrong reasons after the release of Le’Veon Bell on Tuesday night, sinking their perpetual rebuild into new levels of woe.
In times of offensive trouble, attention almost always turns to the quarterback. Flacco acknowledged that role in his Wednesday statements.
“You just need to have plays build off of plays. You need to get some chunks here and there. Right now, we are just going the long hard way,” Flacco said. “Itâ€™s a good sign to have a long drive, because you know youâ€™re obviously doing a lot of little things right, but itâ€™s hard to do that consistently. And right now, thatâ€™s what weâ€™re kind of forcing ourselves to do, is just be so perfect and as soon as one little thing gets messed up by us, or it goes wrong because thereâ€™s a good defense, weâ€™re off the field.”
“I think that, you know, we need to try to get some more first downs in first and second down and then once we get in the red zone we really just have to finish, we have to get points.”
To Flacco’s point, the Jets reached the opposing 35-yard-line four times on last Sunday afternoon against Arizona, but emerged with only one touchdown, as the others ended in a Sam Ficken field goal and failed attempts on fourth down. New York lost 30-10 and fell to 0-5 on the season.
Reinforcements will slowly begin to trickle in for the Jets. Breshad Perriman is expected to play this week after suffering an ankle injury in Week 2’s game against San Francisco. Like Flacco, Perriman was a first-round pick of the Ravens and they spent several seasons together in Baltimore (2015-17).
“I think Breshad over the last couple years has gained a lot of confidence and heâ€™s been playing really well when heâ€™s healthy and heâ€™s rolling,” Flacco said. “You know heâ€™s a tough guy to cover. He can bring a lot of explosive plays to your offense, so itâ€™ll be exciting to kind of get him back out there and it was exciting to see him back out there at practice today.”
Further good news came from the Jets in the form of an update on second-round pick Denzel Mims. The rookie receiver has dealt with injuries all season, but was recently cleared to return to practice alongside Arthur Maulet and fellow rookie Cameron Clark.
No matter the on-field activity, the main talking point throughout Sunday late afternoon will more than likely be Bell’s absence, even if it fully isn’t shown on the statsheet. Flacco, of course, is more than familiar with what will be missed in his departure, as the two were on opposite sides of one of the NFL’s most intense, continuous rivalries in the Ravens-Steelers’ battle for AFC North dominance.
But nonetheless expressed hope that an opportunity has arisen for younger players to take on a role, namely fourth-round rookie La’Mical Perine. The development of these young talents, with the help of some veteran leaders, could well give the Jets something to play for over these dire eleven weeks left on their docket.
“I think we got a really good room. I think we got, obviously in Frank (Gore), a Hall of Fame veteran, a really good young kid coming up (in Perine), I think those guys are going to step up and play really well.”
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags