Saturday, November 27, 2021

Joe Flacco could avenge Ravens’ loss to Dolphins this weekend

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Baltimore Ravens fans will love Joe Flacco as if he were back in Baltimore on Sunday after it was announced that he would start for the New York Jets against the Miami Dolphins, who defeated the Ravens six days ago.

ESPN’s Rich Cimini first reported yesterday that the Jets planned to start Flacco after a disastrous performance by fan favorite Mike White against the Buffalo Bills last week. This is Flacco’s second assignment with the Jets after a trade sent him back to New York on October 26th. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport later confirmed the news, noted that a persistent injury to rookie Zach Wilson would hold the rookie up for another week.

Flacco is popular in Baltimore for his 11 years and 163 games as the team’s quarterback, including his impeccable 2012 playoff run. Drafted an 18th overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, he immediately established himself as the Ravens franchise quarterback, who was in started his rookie season 16 games. This began a series of 122 starts for Flacco in Baltimore, which was finally ended in 2015 by a cruciate ligament rupture.

Another injury in 2018, this time to his hip, marked the end of Flacco’s time in Baltimore, with Lamar Jackson taking over quarterback. But throughout his career, Ravens fans have continued to root for the veteran quarterback wherever he goes.

Now they’ll fight harder than ever as Flacco leads the Jets against the Dolphins who embarrassed the Ravens last week.

Both Cimini and Rapoport added that Flacco’s 14 seasons of NFL experience were a factor in the Jets’ decision to launch him against the Dolphins and their aggressive, lightning-happy defenses.

Head coach Robert Saleh told the media that experience was one of the reasons the Jets took over Flacco last month, according to Associated Press Dennis Waszak Jr.

Saleh said yesterday:

Although Saleh claimed that Flacco “would put us in the best position to win,” Flacco has not done well under pressure in his career, especially last season in New York. He got an offensive grade of 40.0 from Pro Football Focus when under pressure in 2020, the sixth lowest grade among any quarterbacks.

But after White’s fights last week, Flacco is probably still the best option for the Jets. It would be fundamentally unwise to send a not entirely healthy Zach Wilson against Miami’s ardent defense, especially since the rookie has been struggling with sales with nine interceptions in just six games this season.

Flacco also told the media yesterday that despite the league’s improved protocols for unvaccinated players, he is not vaccinated against COVID-19.

The veteran quarterback said he didn’t want to create a “distraction” by explaining his reasoning, according to Cimini, but he will create more than a distraction if he misses a season in New York.

Flacco is the second high-profile quarterback to announce he is unvaccinated in the past few weeks after the Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Rodgers sparked league-wide controversy in early November.

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