As the New York Jets await word on how long Zach Wilson will be out following his scheduled knee surgery, coach Robert Saleh is comfortable with veteran Joe Flacco taking the starting reins.
“Joe’s a pro. He’s been there, he’s done that. He’s been a Super Bowl MVP, a world champion. He’s gotten the big contracts. He checks about all the boxes you can check,” the coach said Sunday, via the team’s official website. “I think he’s going to be fine, especially for the remainder of the preseason. We’ll see everything else with Zach’s knee, but we have all the faith in the world in Joe.”
Wilson went down with a non-contact injury in the Jets’ preseason opener against the Eagles. He was diagnosed with a bone bruise and a meniscus tear, requiring arthroscopic surgery, NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero reported.
As it stands now, the timetable for Wilson’s return is between two and four weeks. If it’s closer to the latter — or longer, depending on what the surgeon sees when he goes in for the repair — that would mean Flacco getting the Week 1 call. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Monday that Wilson will undergo surgery in Los Angeles on Tuesday with Dr. Neal ElAttrache making the final determination on what kind of procedure is performed.
Earlier this offseason, the veteran said he was embracing his role as a mentor to Wilson, but if the Jets need him to start, the 37-year-old is ready. He reiterated those thoughts Sunday.
“I’m happy with my role. I love being here, being completely focused on whatever I’m doing right now,” he said. “After practice, I want to be able to say I had the best day that I’ve ever had. Right now that’s what I’m focused on. I’m happy with what I’m doing, helping out a young guy. I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t have the desire to be good at what I do and didn’t believe I could play this game.”
Flacco started four games for the Jets in 2020 after signing as a free agent. In 2021, the Jets brought the veteran back in a trade with Philadelphia midway through the season. He started one game for Gang Green last year. Flacco is 0-5 as a starter in New York.
If Flacco gets the nod in Week 1, it would come against the Baltimore Ravens, the team the QB helped lead to a Super Bowl win and spent his first 11 seasons helming.
Flacco said he doesn’t want to make a big deal about facing his former team but admitted it could be emotional.
“I’ve been in a bunch of games where guys have played their past teams. Usually the emotions are definitely crazy. Guys try to act like they’re so cool during the week,” Flacco said. “I’ve probably thought about it a tiny bit. It’s so far away. Who knows what’s going to happen?”
For now, the Jets will prep Flacco in the final preseason games as they await word on how long Wilson might be on the shelf.
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