Joe Flacco ‘embracing’ backup role with Jets, still eyeing starting job

Yahoo Sports

Joe Flacco knows he’s still capable of being a starting quarterback in the NFL.

It’s just going to be a while before that happens.

Flacco, now with the New York Jets, has been tasked with helping 22-year-old Sam Darnold succeed as the starter.

“I’m fully embracing it,” Flacco said Thursday, via USA Today. “It’s where I am right now and I’m glad to be on a team playing football in some capacity. And I think it’s going to be huge to get in there and know the guys and develop a relationship with the team and do anything I can to help the team get better and in that process, help Sam with whatever he needs help with.” 

Flacco signed a one-year deal with the Jets last week, which will mark his third stop in the league after spending his first 11 years with the Baltimore Ravens and last year with the Denver Broncos. The former Super Bowl MVP suffered a herniated disk after going just 2-6 in Denver, however, and ended the year on injured reserve. He was eventually released.

The 35-year-old underwent surgery to repair the disk in his neck in April, too, and said this week that he wouldn’t be ready to go for the season opener in September. At best, per ESPN, Flacco could be cleared for contact work by early- to mid-September. So it’s not like he’d be able to be a starter anywhere else in the league anyway, at least at the beginning of the year. 

But after being forced to the sidelines last year and unable to help, Flacco is happy to be able to make an impact — even if that’s as a backup — while he gets back to full strength.

“I know what it’s like to not feel like being part of a team because you really can’t have your hand in things,” Flacco said, via USA Today. “And I think in the role I’m in now, you can definitely have a good, positive effect on the team.

“I obviously still believe that I’m a starting quarterback, and you never know what three years down the line is going to look like, so I still have that confidence and I still have the want, the want to to do that. But at this moment, that’s not my role.”

Flacco impressed with Darnold early 

Flacco hasn’t had much time with the Jets or coach Adam Gase’s offensive system yet. Not only has he just been with the organization for less than a week, but the COVID-19 pandemic has forced teams to hold virtual offseason programs — which can make learning a new system that much harder.

He has, though, already talked with Darnold and has seen some impressive qualities in the third-year quarterback — who threw for more than 3,000 yards and 19 touchdowns last season. 

“My impression is that he’s a young guy that has really good athleticism, can move in the pocket, can move out of the pocket, create things for himself, has the arm strength to do what he wants with the ball, both in the pocket and out of the pocket,” Flacco said, via USA Today. “So I would say the biggest thing is just to get him to play as fast as possible, just after talking to him, so he can use all of those things in his toolbox.”

Joe Flacco said he's "embracing" his new backup role with the New York Jets. (Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
Joe Flacco said he's "embracing" his new backup role with the New York Jets. (Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

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