New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson injured his knee during the team's first preseason game and now the team will rely on Joe Flacco for the near future. Flacco has not entered a season as a starter since 2019, but head coach Robert Saleh has faith that the veteran is capable of leading the team.
Saleh has long praised Flacco and before the preseason noted that he believes the 37-year-old should be a starter in the league. Now that Flacco has the chance to show what he can do, Saleh is doubling down on his take that the quarterback is still at the starter level.
"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," Saleh said, 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."
, "[Flacco] could start in this league, I believe that. Sometimes this league has a tendency to pigeonhole people or put labels on people, and then their opportunities get limited, but Joe Flacco is a starting quarterback in this league."
Depending on the timeline for Wilson's surgery to fix the bone bruise and a meniscus tear after the non-contact injury, Flacco may get to start in the regular season.
Whatever it is Flacco is called to do, he is happy and embracing the role of supporting the young quarterback and the team.
"I'm happy with my role. I love being here, being completely focused on whatever I'm doing right now. 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," he said on Sunday, via NFL.com." 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 has the support of his coach, something that he says means a lot.
"I still think I have that ability to start. It's good to hear people say that -- especially people that are close to the situation [Saleh]. I do believe I am still good enough to be a starting quarterback. That's what still drives me to work hard and be the best I can," he said earlier this offseason.
The Jets are scheduled to play the Baltimore Ravens, Flacco's previous team, Week 1. If Flacco does get the start, he will be facing the team he won a Super Bowl with and spent the majority his career with.
"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 on the possibility of facing his old team. "I've probably thought about it a tiny bit. It's so far away. Who knows what's going to happen?"