It takes a lot to rattle the unflappable Joe Flacco, a former Super Bowl MVP. So to hear Flacco admit to ‘butterflies’ at Wednesday’s New York Jets practice says something about his excitement level.
Announced as the team’s starter for this week, Flacco will have his first NFL start in nearly a year.
With the news that Sam Darnold (shoulder) will be held out for the Jets game this Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals, the Jets will look to break their 0-4 start to the season with the veteran quarterback under center. Flacco came in and spelled Darnold for four plays last Thursday when the franchise quarterback was being examined for his shoulder injury.
Now in practice on Wednesday, Flacco admits that being named the starter had him feeling “like a little kid again just going out there and playing football.”
“Well it’s funny, I mean, the four plays that I ran in the game were the first four plays that I’ve ever heard from [head coach Adam Gase] and ever called in our huddle,” Flacco said on Wednesday.
“So I probably had a little bit of butterflies going out to practice today just because I wasn’t really sure, there’s a lot of uncertainty about what you are hearing and what’s going to happen, but it was awesome to get that first day under my belt. It felt good, it felt like I was back under center and all those things, so I feel pretty comfortable at this point, but I’m sure there’s going to be things.
“And, you know, as a veteran, you have to take those things and just make the most of it. I’m sure there’s always situations in a game that come up that, aren’t like you planned, you have to rely on your ability and your experience to kind of take advantage of those situations as best you can.”
In spelling Darnold in Week 4, Flacco completed both passes for a total of 16 yards.
Signed this past summer, Flacco brings experience to a Jets quarterback room that was exposed last year when Darnold missed two games early in the season. That certainly isn’t the case now.
A veteran with extensive playoff experience, he comes to the opposite end of the equation with the Jets. Arguably the worst team in football with what is statistically the worst offense in the league, the Jets are a far cry from Flacco’s Baltimore Ravens teams that consistently have made the playoffs the past decade.
And yet here Flacco is, excited about the opportunity to get a start for the winless Jets.
As for the Jets offense, Gase said that there are no drastic changes to what will be done in Week 5 between Darnold and Flacco.
“It doesn’t. Those guys, they have similar arm strength and all those types of things,” Gase said. “Those guys can make all the same throws.”