Joe Flacco has entered the ring. That's right, everybody. The Super Bowl champ has reclaimed a starting quarterback position in the National Football League. It is not because he outperformed his competition, however. New York Jets QB Sam Darnold is out this week after getting hurt last Thursday against the Denver Broncos, and Flacco is the next man up.
Initially, Jets fans might be excited about this news, if only because it means Darnold isn't going out there hobbled -- like he and 2020 first-rounder Mekhi Becton did on Thursday. But this is actually very bad. It's good the Jets aren't forcing Darnold to play, but it's bad Flacco is taking his spot.
Why? Because Flacco might be just good enough to ruin all the silver linings of an awful season like the one the Jets are currently going through.
The last time we saw Flacco, he was in Denver. He was not good. He went 2-6 in eight games as the starter. He completed 65 percent of his passes for 1,822 yards, six touchdowns, and five interceptions. That statline is still better than what Darnold has been doing as a part of this awful Jets squad. Darnold is currently averaging 198 yards and one interception per game. Flacco averaged 227 yards per game in his last starting stint. He did not throw a touchdown in several games, but he also did not throw an interception in several games.
Flacco is obviously not better than Darnold based off that, but there is a possibility that Flacco can play at a competent level. That's bad news because the Jets are a terrible football team. Anything Flacco can do out there will only mask the deep-seated issues on this team, not fix them.
What will help fix those issues? Getting rid of Adam Gase and nabbing an elite talent of some type in the 2021 draft. Neither of those things will happen if the Jets start to win games. Flacco could play just well enough to make that happen. Darnold's injury doesn't seem serious and he could be good to go next week. But if he's not, and Flacco gets the Jets a win or two, what then? Gase doesn't get canned because apparently any sign of vague competency is enough to keep him employed. The Jets drop a few spots in the draft order, potentially the difference between a long-term building block and a bust.
I'm not saying this will happen. I don't even think it's likely. But what if Flacco comes in, throws for 250 yards and a pair of touchdowns with a pick, the Jets go from No. 3 to No. 7 in the draft order, and Gase gets one more year? That's the absolute worst-case scenario. These are the kinds of things that happen to the New York Jets.